by Sr. Aideen O’Sullivan MMM Scotland 12.10.2023
Once upon a time there was a world of super-human beings, heroes and heroines, who did marvellous things. They stood head and shoulders above ordinary people. Everything went right for them, and everybody praised them for their achievements.
When we were younger, we imagined that, like those super-humans, we would achieve fame and fortune also. We would be magically delivered from the struggle and the need to work for success and popularity.
The bubble burst and we found ourselves in the real world just like everyone else, ordinary, and rather imperfect unfinished persons. Then it became all too easy to fall into the trap of cynicism: to join the ‘knockers’ and the ‘begrudgers’, the ‘I told you so’ clubs of this world.
But cheer up! God is not finished with us yet! We need to remember those who have committed themselves to an ideal that changed them and the world around them. These people remind us that our ordinariness and weakness can be transformed by grace and generous surrender to God.
St. Patrick is such a hero for many. We need people like him to inspire us today. That her came back of his own free will to Ireland where he had been enslaved for six years was a bit crazy, to say the least! But Patrick was convinced that this was God’s call to him.
Looking more closely at the story of Patrick’s conversion, one sees that it was deep and radical. His subsequent life bore this out. Instead of becoming bitter and angry at the cards life had dealt him, he channelled his feelings in prayer to God. In his zest for life, he put his energies into helping others by preaching the Good News of the Gospel. That is why he is remembered today as one of the great missionaries in the history of the Church.
We are all called to share the Good News. There is hope in God’s word, and it is up to us to spread this hope around. We need to reclaim lost confidence in ourselves, by taking on board the bold joy of the Gospel. God loves us all, no matter who we are, what we are, how we are, or what we have done. We can allow our imaginations to be stirred by this real hero for today’s world and take to heart his words.