|Ireland via Pinterest
With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought we could all use a little history lesson on this beloved saint. You may be surprised to hear that St. Patty’s day is more than wearing green, drinking Guinness, and eating corned beef & cabbage. St. Patrick is a man who listened to God’s calling on his life and helped change the world around him.
I love the thought of a World Changer. These are people whose lives have changed the shape and history of the world. St. Patrick is one of my favorite world changers because he was young, passionate and committed to his faith. 1800 years after his death, much of the world celebrates his life.
Here is a brief refresher on St. Patrick’s life, gleaned from a few of the reliable internet resources on Google.
St Patrick was born in the late 4th century, in England to noble parents. When he was about 16, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland where he served as a slave tending sheep. According to a Catholic website, he learned to pray to God in the fields, writing:
“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”
About the age of 20, St. Patrick was told by God to escape his captivity, by going to the coast and finding a boat for England. He did just that. Upon his return to England, he studied to become a priest.
After a few years in England, he had another dream, when God called him to return to Ireland and share share his faith with the Irish people. He is thought to be the first Christian missionary to Ireland, and certainly the most effective and well-known. His work in teaching and baptizing the nobles, princes and pagan warrior chiefs is legendary. Thousands of people responded to his teaching. St Patrick’s ministry was SO effective, that he is credited with the establishment the Christian faith in Ireland.
One of his missions was to pray about the snakes leaving Ireland. To this day, there are no snakes in Ireland.
Hundreds of churches and monasteries were established as a result of his ministry. Even today there are many churches, schools and cathedrals named in honor of St. Patrick.
The shamrock is associated with St. Patrick, because this is the image that he used to teach the pagans about the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit; three in one. His use of the shamrock has morphed into an international symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick, but most people are totally unaware that it was the symbol used to communicate Christian doctrine.
St. Patrick’s Day is the largest and most popular feast day for a saint. It is thought to be a day when Lenten disciplines about eating and drinking could be lifted. It is also a day for spiritual reflection and renewal and for the church to pray for Christian missionaries around the world.
His ministry is believed to have lasted about 30 years. There are several accounts of his death on March 17, 460 AD.
In one way or another, we are all called to be World Changers, probably not like St. Patrick, but we’ve each been given a role to play in the world that we live in. Pay attention to what is happening in your world today and ask God what kind of difference you can make.
Psalm 34 has several verses that make me think of St. Patrick- vs. 4-5,7- are my favorites.
“I prayed to the Lord and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces…The angel of the Lord guards all who fear him and he rescues them.”