The truth about St. Patrick
Happy St. Patrick’s Day. My husband’s grandmother was born and raised in Ireland so I am very interested in that country and who the man was that is celebrated on this day. Unfortunately, like most holidays, this one has changed into a secular version with shamrocks and other symbols of Ireland. I wonder if you know anything about the man behind the name?
St. Patrick was actually not Irish. He was actually born in Roman Britain in about 390 A.D. When he was a teenager, he was captured and taken to Ireland where he was sold to an Irish king who put him to work as a shepherd. He was lonely and scared. He had been raised a Christian but did not have a strong belief in God. During his time alone as a shepherd, he wrote in his confessions that he would pray constantly and the love of God would surround him more and more. After six years, he was able to return home as a fugitive slave. (God had told him in a dream this would happen). He walked 200 miles to the Irish coast and boarded a ship back to England.
As you might imagine, Patrick returned home a different person than he had been when he left. He entered a monastery, became a priest and then, a bishop. After 30 years, God called him back to Ireland. The Irish of the fifth century were a pagan, violent, and very barbaric people. They had human sacrifice practices along with all kinds of other savage practices. Patrick wrote that he was ready to go no matter what would come his way. Through Patrick, God converted thousands of Irish people. Since Patrick had been a slave there, he knew how to make a new story that would make sense to all their old stories and brought them a peace they had never known before. They were able to lay down the chains that enslaved them.
We are the same as Patrick. We need that time with God to change our lives and gain a deep relationship so God can use us in the best way. Patrick drew close to God in the midst of his suffering and was better off for that hard time. When we are in suffering and being held in our own form of prison or captivity, we can learn to see and know God in deeper ways that we cannot do when things are going well. Needing God in the midst of loneliness and pain is the way we usually gain our closest relationship with God. His Spirit comforts us and draws us into His Love.
We are also like Patrick in that once we have gone through our time of suffering, we can be used by God in the way that was intended all along. In my own life, I went through much emotional trauma during my early life and all that has been used to help others as I counsel and help them in my profession as a therapist. God used Patrick to help free the Irish from their pagan ways because Patrick was familiar with those ways and the stories they told. He knew the Irish people from his time of being held captive. God used that experience to draw him back into the life of a Priest and then, on to open a country to the salvation of Christ.
What is God using now that is drawing you into deeper spiritual intimacy with Him?