Here’s to St. Patrick
Well, today is St. Patrick’s Day, the day on which all American-born Irish need to move over and let everyone into their celebration of Ireland’s patron saint. Green beer anyone?
Most people know that Patrick was not actually Irish but that he was from England and had been taken prisoner by Irish raiders and sold into slavery. He escaped but later returned to bring Christianity to the land he grew to love. While details of his life are scant, and many of the stories told about him are probably not true, you can read a reasonably good history here.
One fact of his life stands out as being worthy of honor however. Anita McSorley says it this way:
“Women find a great advocate in Patrick….Patrick’s Confession speaks of women as individuals. [Thomas] Cahill points out, for example, Patrick’s account of ‘a blessed woman, Irish by birth, noble, extraordinarily beautiful—a true adult—whom I baptized.’ Elsewhere, he lauds the strength and courage of Irish women: ‘But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer the most—and who keep their spirits up despite the menacing and terrorizing they must endure. The Lord gives grace to his many handmaids; and though they are forbidden to do so, they follow him with backbone.’ He is actually the first male Christian since Jesus, Cahill says, to speak well of women.” (Emphasis mine.)
While the above quote does not sound particularly heroic compare it to this from St. Augustine, his contemporary:
“I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes the purpose of procreation. If woman was not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?”
So, whether you are egalitarian or complementarian, why not raise a glass of green beer to toast a man who understood the true nature and value of women.