by Yvonne Morgan
It’s St. Patrick’s Day! Every March 17th, we celebrate the life of that Saint and all things Irish. Since I was born in Ireland, St. Patrick holds a special place in my heart. My ancestors shared history with the saint; my father’s family worked as St. Patrick’s bell keepers. Many people know the name of St. Patrick because of the holiday. But who was he, and what did he do?
According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, Irish pirates captured Patrick when he was about 16 and took him to Ireland as a slave. He remained there for six years before escaping the island and returning to his family in Britain. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. Patrick served as a bishop in later life, but they know little about those years. By the seventh century, he was revered to be the patron saint of Ireland. Many believe he died around the year 461, and the locals buried him in a town named Downpatrick.
Patrick had a missionary heart. Even though he had been kidnapped and forced into slavery in Ireland, Patrick learned to love the Irish people. After his freedom, Patrick returned home to England, but he heard the Irish people calling to him in his dreams. Those dreams prompted him to become a priest and return to Ireland. St. Patrick turned a tragic event in his life into a ministry of serving others.
One of his well-remembered teachings explained the Holy Trinity in simple terms that the pagans could understand. He used the shamrock; the plant’s three leaves represented the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But even though the plant had three separate leaves, it remained a single plant. The shamrock later became the symbol for St. Patrick and for the Irish. To this day, many people still use this symbol to help others under the triune nature of God.
Patrick comprehended the importance of always keeping Christ close to him. His breastplate bore these words:
“Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.” St. Patrick’s Breastplate
These simple words speak a profound truth to us today as well. We must remain closely connected to Christ and see Him in everyone and everything around us.
A common myth associated with the Saint is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland probably had no snakes. It is more likely that it is an allegory for his eradication of pagan ideology—with snakes standing in for the serpents of Druid mythology.
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man whose love and total devotion to God and trust in Him are a shining example to believers today. So complete was his faith in God and in the importance of his mission, he feared nothing—not even death.
So as you celebrate today, please take a moment to remember the Saint behind the celebration and all he taught us about faith.
In honor of this Godly man, I leave you with an Irish Blessing as my prayer for you;
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. (This traditional Irish blessing is an ancient Celtic prayer.)
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Having witnessed the power of prayer in her own life, Yvonne M Morgan shares stories of trusting the Lord and watching Him in action. She was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and is a wife, mom, grandmother, and child of God. Yvonne learned to trust the Lord in all circumstances, even after the death of her son many years ago. God has called her down many paths, including starting a charity for orphans in other countries. She is an award-winning writer, specializing in stories that deepen one’s relationship with God. Read more about Yvonne here.
Join the conversation: How is this holiday meaningful to you?
2 thoughts on “Godly Lessons from St. Patrick”
Thanks for sharing! I was born on St. Patrick’s Day and love all things Irish! My maiden name is Halloran. I visited the St. Patrick museum, church, and burial place when I visited Downpatrick a few years ago. Truly fascinating to learn more about St. Patrick. Humble servant of God!
Thanks for this interesting account of Saint Patrick. Many things I did not know.