In the village of Kilpatrick, in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, Saint Patrick was born British to affluent parents. The precise year of his death is unknown but most of those knowledgable agree it was between 460 A.D. and 493 A.D. Some credible religious accounts written indicate he lived from roughly 340 A.D. to 440 A.D. Oddly enough we do know he died on March 17. At the age of 16 he was captured in Wales by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland to be a slave in the capacity of a herdsman. It is reported Saint Patrick has a dream while in captivity giving him a clear vision of God’s call on his life to take God and His love to the Irish. Hum... why am I thinking of Joseph serving the Egyptians? He escaped Ireland and rejoined his family, entered the Roman Catholic church, and became an ordained bishop. Returning then to Ireland he became the first missionary to that country, the very country that kidnapped and enslaved him. There he preached the gospel of Jesus, baptized Kings and Chiefs of government and in fact brought entire clan’s to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The good work he did spread across Ireland. How do you spell revival? That so excites me.
There are legends about Saint Patrick ridding Ireland of snakes and using the Shamrock to illustrate the Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Well, there is scripture that could back up the ridding of snakes and Jesus used vinedressers, farmers, sowing seeds into different types of ground, sheep, goats weeds, and fig trees, all pieces of nature the people could understand to illustrate godly principles. I do not think using a Shamrock to illustrate our Triune God is a stretch. And, the Shamrock is now the official flower of Ireland. At any rate, I think it is most notable that Saint Patrick obeyed God and went back to Ireland to share the love of God with those that captured and imprisoned him for six years.
For Catholics in Ireland this a Holy Day of Obligation where they will attend Mass. For some it is a celebration of their Irish heritage. Some just like it because the river gets turned green and so does the beer they will so happily enjoy. For me, it is remembering and celebrating one man’s love for God that moved him to a place of inspiring forgiveness, and the life he spent devoted to sharing God with the world. Okay, and corned beef, cabbage and potatoes are my little fodder contribution to the day.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!