Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Every year this holiday comes and goes, and I'm left scratching my head. I wonder:
- Who was this St. Patrick guy?
- Was he Irish?
- What did he do for the Irish people?
- Is he a cultural or religious hero?
- And what in the world does the shamrock have to do with anything?
Well, it turns out that St. Patrick, born around 387 A.D., is the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. Interestingly, St. Patrick wasn't Irish at all. He was born to an aristocratic Christian family in Britain; his grandfather and father were deacons in the Christian church.
At age sixteen, Patrick's life took a tragic turn when Irish raiders kidnapped him and took him to Ireland as a slave. During his years of slavery, he tended sheep and had a personal conversion to Christianity. After beginning a relationship with Christ, he heard the voice of God telling him to escape slavery and return to his native Britain. He obeyed, experiencing the joy of freedom again.
Upon returning to Britain, he joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied for the priesthood. Once again he heard the voice of God, this time telling him to go back to Ireland. Again he obeyed and spent the rest of his life as a missionary, bringing many in Ireland to Christ.
And what about that shamrock? According to Irish legend, Patrick used the shamrock, a white (not green) wild-growing three-leaf clover, to explain the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
So it seems that our St. Patrick was a strong believer of Jesus, a godly man that suffered his share of trials, and a Christian leader that gave his life to telling others about the Lord. Sounds a lot like the Apostle Paul that led many to Christ in his day. Sounds like a man that I'd like to emulate.
So today, I say again -- Happy St. Patrick's Day. I'm excited to say that with authority and knowledge for the first time in my life.
Maybe you can too!