How much do you really know about St. Patrick’s Day? If you knew more about it, you would know today’s version is far from anything St. Patrick would participate in. Let’s take a look at St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s name wasn’t Patrick. Huh? Nope. But in his writings, he refers to himself as Pātricius.
St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. Say what?! Nope, wasn’t Irish. He said he was the son of “Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburniæ.” Although this village has never been firmly identify, it is believed to be in Britian. So, he was British. Potitus was a Romano-British priest.
And green is not the “official” color of St. Patrick’s day, blue is. HA! Didn’t know that one did you?! Pictures of St. Patrick show him wearing blue. And blue has been used on the Irish coat of arms as well as to represent Ireland in the UK coat of arms.
NO DRINKING ALLOWED! St. Patrick’s day was a dry holiday. The Irish law deemed St. Patrick’s Day a religious holiday which meant pubs were shut down for the day. That was changed in 1970.
So how does Ireland and Irish fit into all this? Patrick said he was “about sixteen years of age” when he was kidnapped with “many thousands of people.” He was taken to Ireland.
He said after he was brought to Ireland, “every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed.” And his “faith was strengthened.”
He eventually escaped captivity but went back to Ireland, which was a nation strong with pagans and druids. He was a missionary and had many conversions under his teaching. As far as being a Saint – the Catholics never canonized him, so technically, he isn’t even a Saint. But, he was proclaimed a saint by the people of his time because of his life work. Today, he has been respected as a saint by Christians and Catholics.
Bascially, what we know of St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day is really all American made. Yep, born and breed right here in the good ol’ USA.
Welcome to reality folks. It’s amazing what media can do – isn’t it?
So there you have the brief version. You are free to stop reading now.
But if you’d like to know more about St. Patrick, keep reading. Or even better, he wrote all about himself in what is now called, “The Confession of St. Patrick.” The reason he wrote it was his “wish that my brethren and kinsmen should know what sort of person I am, so that they may understand my heart’s desire.” I can’t help to think he would be very sadden and dishearted at what is done on St. Patrick’s day today.
So here is a British young man in captivity in a foreign country. Obviously, if his father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest, he had been raised in the church. Yet he writes, “I did not know the true God.” And through his circumstance, his true birthright was revealed to him. He says, “And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God.”
Are you allowing your circumstance to keep you from freedom? Or will you allow it to lead you into Freedom?
He tells how he is embarassed to write.
“Hence to-day I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education; for I am unable to tell my story to those versed in the art of concise writing—in such a way, I mean, as my spirit and mind long to do, and so that the sense of my words expresses what I feel.”
His will, his emotions, his thoughts all tell him he is unworthy to write, to tell his story. And yet, deep down, he is compelled to share it. There is a wrestling match going on within himself. But he doesn’t allow the actions of his will to keep him from being who God designed him to be. He writes:
How much more should we earnestly strive to do this, we, who are, so Scripture says, a letter of Christ for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth, and, though not an eloquent one, yet…written in your hearts, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God! And again the Spirit witnesses that even rusticity was created by the Highest.
Are you allowing your fears, your will, or your emotions to keep you from freely being who you were designed to be? Or will you recognize those very things were placed in you and created by God so you could fully be who he wants you to be?
It appears because he was taken at such a young age, he was uneducated to a degree he was uncomfortable with. He also was placed into a foreign land with a foreign language. He writes:
Whence I, once rustic, exiled, unlearned, who does not know how to provide for the future, this at least I know most certainly that before I was humiliated I was like a stone Lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft, and placed me on the top of the wall. And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity—benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise.
Wherefore, then, be astonished, ye great and little that fear God, and you men of letters on your estates, listen and pore over this. Who was it that roused up me, the fool that I am, from the midst of those who in the eyes of men are wise, and expert in law, and powerful in word and in everything? And He inspired me—me, the outcast of this world—before others, to be the man (if only I could!) who, with fear and
reverence and without blame, should faithfully serve the people to whom the love of Christ conveyed and gave me for the duration of my life, if I should be worthy; yes indeed, to serve them humbly and sincerely.
Are you allowing your training or lack there of to hold you in bondage? Or will you be comfortable in what you do know and lean not on your own understanding, but on that of God’s?
What would you do were you taken captive into a foreign land and forced into labor? Would you give up? Would you blame God for your circumstance? Patrick writes about what he did.
But after I came to Ireland—every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed—the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me—as I now see, because the spirit within me was then fervent.
He didn’t allow the circumstances of his physical body – captivity, wilderness, weather, to keep him from seeking God. He just pressed in closer and God met him right where he was. Some might even say, he was right where God designed him to be?
Because he didn’t stay focused on his circumstance, he pushed through and over came his will and emotions, he didn’t allow his lack of education to define him, and he didn’t focus on the situation he was in physically.
He tells about it his escape:
And there one night I heard in my sleep a voice saying to me: `It is well that you fast, soon you will go to your own country.’ And again, after a short while, I heard a voice saying to me: `See, your ship is ready.’ And it was not near, but at a distance of perhaps two hundred miles, and I had never been there, nor did I know a living soul there; and then I took to flight, and I left the man with whom I had stayed for six
years. And I went in the strength of God who directed my way to my good, and I feared nothing until I came to that ship.
And the day that I arrived the ship was set afloat, and I said that I was able to pay for my passage with them. But the captain was not pleased, and with indignation he answered harshly: `It is of no use for you to ask us to go along with us.’ And when I heard this, I left them in order to return to the hut where I was staying. And as I went, I began to pray; and before I had ended my prayer, I heard one of them shouting
behind me, `Come, hurry, we shall take you on in good faith; …
It wasn’t an easy road, but God was faithful to him and brought witness to others time and time again.
And after three days we reached land, and for twenty-eight days we travelled through deserted country. And they lacked food, and hunger overcame them; and the next day the captain said to me: `Tell me, Christian: you say that your God is great and all-powerful; why, then, do you not pray for us? As you cansee, we are suffering from hunger; it is unlikely indeed that we shall ever see a human being again.’
I said to them full of confidence: `Be truly converted with all your heart to the Lord my God, because nothing is impossible for Him, that this day He may send you food on your way until you be satisfied; for He has abundance everywhere.’ And, with the help of God, so it came to pass: suddenly a herd of pigs appeared on the road before our eyes, and they killed many of them; and there they stopped for two nights and fully recovered their strength, and their hounds received their fill for many of them had grown weak and were half-dead along the way. And from that day they had plenty of food. …
He was still in a form of captivity for another two months. Take some time to read his confession, it is full of testimony after testimony of God’s favor and faithfulness.
So how did he come to be Saint Patrick? Because he returned to Ireland. At that time, Ireland was a place of pagans and druids. He traveled throughout the country preaching, teaching, building churches, opening schools and monasteries, converting chiefs and bards, and everywhere supporting his preaching with miracles. He angered the druids and was arrested several times. But for many years, he continued to preach the Gospel.
I will let Pātricius have the last words:
…Because there is no other God, nor ever was, nor will be, than God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, the Lord of the universe, as we have been taught; and His son Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have always been with the Father, spiritually and ineffably begotten by the Father before the beginning of the world, before all beginning; and by Him are made all things visible and invisible. He was made man, and, having defeated death, was received into heaven by the Father; and He hath given Him all power over all names in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe, and whose advent we expect soon to be, judge of the living and of the dead, who will render to every man according to his deeds; and He has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality, who makes those who believe and obey sons of God and joint heirs with Christ; and Him do we confess and adore, one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name. …
…For that reason, therefore, we ought to fish well and diligently, as the Lord exhorts in advance and teaches, saying: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And again He says through the prophets: Behold, I send many fishers and hunters, saith God, and so on. Hence it was most necessary to spread our nets so that a great multitude and throng might be caught for God, and that there be clerics everywhere to baptize and exhort a people in need and want, as the Lord in the Gospel states, exhorts and teaches, saying: Going therefore now, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world. And again He says: Go ye therefore into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned. And again: This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony to all nations, and then shall come the end. And so too the Lord announces through the prophet, and says: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And in Osee, He saith: `I will call that which was not my people, my people; …and her that had not obtained mercy, one that hath obtained mercy. And it shall be in the place where it was said: “You are not my people,” there they shall be called the sons of the living God.’ …