Sermon for Passion Sunday
On the great vigil of Easter in 433, which was also March 25th, Feast of the Annunciation, St. Patrick determined to meet the Celtic chieftains and High King Leoghaire on their own ground at Tara by and challenge their superstitious and idolatrous druidism. The pagans were prepared for the messenger of Christ, as their demoniac prophets had divined his presence.au
St. Patrick made his presence known opposite Tara on the summit of the hill of Slane where he kindled the Easter fire. The druid priests responded by appealing to Leoghaire: “O King, live for ever. This fire, which has been lighted in defiance of the royal edict, will blaze for ever in this land unless it be this very night extinguished.” By order of the king the druids were sent to the hill of Slane to put out Patrick’s fire and slay him, but by miraculous intervention, both the fire and the saint were protected from all harm, much to the consternation of the pagans.
In the morning the saint accompanied by his Christian band formed the Easter procession and proceeded from the fire on the hill of Slane to the Tara. St. Patrick was arrayed in full episcopal attire. As he approached the stronghold of Satan, the druid priests made use of their black incantations to cover all the land in darkness, but at his prayers this wile was undone and the sun shown gloriously in the Easter Day. In the light the druid high priest was then raised off the ground into the heights only to be brought down again by divine power and dashed on the rocks below.
In this way St. Patrick defeated paganism in Ireland and proved to all the cheiftans the truth of the Catholic religion. Through his great faith and his willingness to risk his life before the minions of Satan, the Saint one the admiration of the King and obtained from him permission to spread the true faith throughout the realm.
Life is always a struggle between light and darkness. It is the story of mankind. It is the story of Ireland and it is the news of the week:
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God bless Dana Rosemary Scallon, a modern day Joan of Arc, who in the past was not afraid of being attacked by the Irish bishops in defense of the right to life. Read her largely unheeded exhortation to the Irish people:
This is no longer about the politics of right and left, it is about right and wrong. I can no longer stay silent about the wilful betrayal of Ireland’s Constitution.
BTW, the preamble of that constitution reads thus:
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
In effect, the Lisbon Treaty offers no protection to the unborn and largely eliminates Ireland’s judicial sovereignty.
What about “acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ”?
Pray for Ireland. Ask St. Patrick to bring light into the darkness and exorcise the Great Snake from the Emerald Isle.
From the Golden Legend:
On a time as Saint Patrick preached in Ireland the faith of Jesu Christ, and did but little profit by his predication, for he could not convert the evil, rude and wild people, he prayed to our Lord Jesu Christ that he would show them some sign openly, fearful and ghastful, by which they might be converted and be repentant of their sins. Then, by the commandment of God, Saint Patrick made in the earth a great circle with his staff, and anon the earth after the quantity of the circle opened and there appeared a great pit and a deep, and Saint Patrick by the revelation of God understood that there was a place of purgatory, in to which whomsoever entered therein he should never have other penance ne feel none other pain, and there was showed to him that many should enter which should never return ne come again. And they that should return should abide but from one morn to another, and no more, and many entered that came not again. As touching this pit or hole which is named Saint Patrick’s purgatory, some hold opinion that the second Patrick, which was an abbot and no bishop, that God showed to him this place of purgatory; but certainly such a place there is in Ireland wherein many men have been, and yet daily go in and come again, and some have had there marvellous visions and seen grisly and horrible pains, of whom there be books made as of Tundale and others.