Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

409px-Kilbennan_St._Benin's_Church_Window_St._Patrick_Detail_2010_09_16250px-Saint_Patrick_(window)

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  I had someone tell me today, “Erin Go Bragh”!  I have heard this saying and have read it many times however, was not really sure what it meant.  So, I googled it.   According to the all knowing wikipedia, it means “Ireland forever” or “until the end of time”.    It appears Ireland shall stand til the end of time. (stained glass pics from wikipedia)

Once upon a time, Ireland was ransacked by England, Vikings and others who wanted to control the vast beauty and resources.  The story of Ireland has been rich in struggle. Whether it pertained to famine, religion, land, or other worldly desires, Ireland and its inhabitants have been the subject of much persecution and struggle.

Thankfully, the Irish and their descendants have been a hearty, resilient group of people who overcome.

Traditional Irish dance has become even more popular, in its own right and with exposure to performing dance troupes such as Lord of The Dance and Riverdance.

Irish music is often known in a folk sense, with a tin whistle and violin, or sung in pubs and bars in a raucously joyous imbibement,  yet rock bands such as Van Morrison, U2, and Rory Gallagher have demonstrated to the world the varied tones and feelings that have transcended the millennia.

In the mid to late 1990s, Ireland began to financially prosper with travel and tourism, lower business tax brought pharmaceutical and computer/internet companies to the Island nation.  In the late 1990s, the internet began to take off as we know and use it today. Ireland helped lead that charge.

Today is known around the world as Saint Patrick’s Day.  It is often showered with people purposefully placing, at a minimum, a speck of green so as to avoid the ensuing pinch by friends. Occasionally, the color orange is added to demonstrate one’s loyalty to protestant faith and in William of Orange.  The struggle continues in differences in professing faith.

There was a time, a man roamed the Island named Patrick.  He was born in Scotland, was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. He prayed often whilst held by his captors, living among the pagans and Druids.  He became a priest then later a bishop. He spent the rest of his life spreading Christianity and demonstrated the Holy Trinity through the three leaves of a clover.

When in Cashel, I stopped at the historic landmark of The Rock of Cashel (my own photos will be added) where it was said that Patrick was sharing Christianity with the locals. The locals were fearful as they thought they had to endure the same fate as their king standing before them with Patrick. It was reported that as Patrick spoke, he inadvertently planted his staff into the foot of the king as he spoke.  Many thought to convert, they too would have to have the staff thrust into their feet.  An interesting story and tale, though I have never seen this in writing anywhere to validate it, though I like it the same.

Green or Orange? Regardless of one’s political or religious views, despite where one lives, there are plenty of things that divide all of us.  Patrick professed Christianity and demonstrated love and peace. St. Patrick can and should be shared by all.  If you feel you should wear a color to celebrate the day, choose blue.  Blue was the color of St. Patrick.  However, if you happen to see green or orange this St. Patrick’s Day, shake hands, enjoy a pint together, drown a shamrock, laugh, and maybe even pray together.

Ireland is a beautiful, colorful, vibrant country and the people are even more so.  Add it to your bucket list of places to go and to experience.

Make It Fun!

God Bless.

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http://www.cashel.ie/tourism.php?sect=Town%20Trail   (Photo of Cross borrowed from this site).

http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=89

http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-east/rockofcashel/

http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1325

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0317/St.-Patrick-s-Day-Why-do-we-wear-green

http://prorev.com/irish.htm

http://www.wrdw.com/seasonal/misc/40129602.html

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_Erin_go_bragh_mean

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Cashel

http://www.grandtravel.com/rock.htm

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/03/16/2755868/raleighs-st-patricks-parade-and.html

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/hail-glorious-st-patrick-protestants-and-unionists-are-slowly-embracing-irelands-national-saint-29134340.html

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Abortion and Guns in the Land of the Free

As a nation, there has been much discussion lately regarding gun laws, gun rights, and sorrow that has been felt as a result of recently publicized shootings. There is no doubt that death by firearms is a preventable event. We can educate on gun safety and screen people prior to purchasing guns. We can even spend up the national debt putting more resources into mental health and changing laws to restrict more citizens.

I personally researched the following statistics and am presenting this. I do not belong to any political organizations or lobbying organizations. I have no hidden agenda. I am simply a law abiding citizen of the US who can read and interpret data.

The Centers for Disease Control records data of causes of death from all reported causes in the United States. The data from the year 2009 is their most recently completed and published statistics and therfore the following numbers are from 2009.

Deaths by abortion in the United States for 2009 was 784,507. Homicide by firearms was 11,078. Deaths of US service members in Afghanistan and Iraq was 466.

Let’s take another look at these figures. Total Coalition deaths for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-2013 as reported by icasualties.org was 8,062.

In 2009, there were 772,963 more deaths by abortion in the US than deaths by firearms in the US and service members dying in a combat zone combined.

It is safer to be a service member or contractor in a combat zone and to live in a free country where citizens have the right to bear arms as provided by our founding fathers than it is to be an unborn child in the United States.

We can continue to allow our appointed congressional members to follow the hype, listen to the biased news organizations on television, cable, and satellite. We can continue to listen to the rhetoric of our elected executive as he pushes his own agenda. Or we can use the minds that God gave us and look at the real numbers.

Once upon a time when I was in Afghanistan, an Afghan soldier stepped on a land mine. His body was ripped to pieces. There was nothing left except chunks. I saw feral dogs eating what was left of a human being. A few minutes before, he was a precious human, loved by someone, trying to protect his country and his family. Several minutes later, he was eaten and drank by dogs.

If killing a person is a bad thing, if killing by guns is evil, then what about killing unborn-innocent children? Or is that interrupting your right to choose? Is that an inconvenience to take away that right? Then why inconvenience those in our country who follow the laws, purchase, own, and maintain firearms?

I ask that we all think for ourselves and not be persuaded by emotion. The deaths at Sandy Hook and other shootings are tragic. But let us not forget we have a moral obligation to protect those who cannot care for themselves. Be it an elderly person with dementia and has lost the ability to control their bowel and bladder, an autistic child playing in a neighborhood street, or an unborn child, we must look out for and protect those who cannot protect themselves. I ask that as a nation we reconsider our priorities. Pray and mourn for those we have lost. Let us rebuild hope in our lives and see the positive potential in every person. Nobody wants their own life to be taken away from them. Each life is precious. Let us not take life away from others before their life has even had a chance to take a full breath.

God Bless.

References

http://icasualties.org/oef/

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_07.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm