Saint Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland, here’s a drink to his health!
But not too many drinks, lest we lose ourselves and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick, and see them snakes again!
~ Author Unknown
Parties, celebrations, petitions to ignore Lenten rules. These, and many others, are often associated with St. Patrick’s Day. It has always amazed me at the number of people — people who are not even Irish — who plead for a dispensation from the rule to abstain from meat when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday of Lent. I know that I might be getting into unpopular territory here; but, I could never figure out why they could not celebrate the day one day early or one day late. Or, even better, celebrate like so many of the Irish do “across the pond”: by going to Mass and dedicating themselves to prayer and fasting throughout the day.
In our land, it appears that we will grab at any reason to excuse ourselves from obligations, legal, ethical, or religious. Look at the number of people who no longer obey stop lights or stop signs. They are not laws, they are merely suggestions, at least in the minds of those who break that law. How about the number of people who get into ethical binds because they decided to do something that they knew was wrong but believed they would not get caught. And then there are those who excuse themselves from the laws of the Church because “they don’t apply to me”.
When we do things in excess, we quickly find ourselves far from the path on which we should be traveling. Moderation is what will guide us and enable us to stand firm. That is a lesson that many a Catholic needs to learn. Excess is not just something that is applied to “bad” things in our lives. Sometimes, we get ourselves into problems because we decided to do too much at one time. Lent, a time to renew ourselves and our relationship with God can often become strained because we chose excess. We may have decided to give up too many things, thus guaranteeing failure. Or we may have decided to add too many positive things to our lives and found that we could not make the time to do them all, again guaranteeing failure.
Slow and steady. That should be the mantra for our Lent as well as for our every day lives. Slow and steady. If we make slow, yet steady, progress toward the Kingdom, we will be able to remain true to our hopes, our dreams, and our faith.
FAITH ACTION: Renew your Lenten efforts lest you lose yourself in the ways of the world and forget about the Easter for which you prepare.