St. Patrick and the “middle” issues

One of the big things I learn from St. Patrick is to not spend all my time in the clouds.  I tend to like to think in the abstract, in the lofty and ethereal.  It’s the result of a subtle background belief I have, the belief that regular everyday things are not beautiful.  That the Triune Life is more present in filet mignon than in oatmeal, more present in Bach than in my own unskilled guitar strummings.

But brother Patrick breaks me of such nonsense.  Patrick was great at high-minded theologizing, but he was famous for not spending all his time there.  Nor did he spend time on “low” issues that didn’t matter, like gossip about what’s happening in the village hut next door.  No, Patrick was known for his love of the “middle” issues of everyday life.

Because Patrick knew that the Great Dance flowed through all things, the Celtic tradition includes some of the most beautiful things — prayers about starting the morning fire, walking to the well, and mending cracked door-frames.  Songs about catching fish, cooking dinner, and weeding the garden.  One Celtic monk is famous for the epic poem he wrote about his cat.

That is what I learn from St. Patrick this year.  That my life is so much more beautiful then I ever thought possible.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for inspiring Brother Patrick’s eyes to see, and for now teaching me the same lesson.

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