A bit about Saint Patrick… I’ve just learned all this cool stuff today so I thought I’d share!!
* He was a pagan until he was 16 years old
* He became a Christian during his enslavement to the Irish marauders who kidnapped him from his family’s wealthy estate on the British mainland
* He escaped after 6 years and was so convicted of the need to spread the Gospel that he went to study at the monastery for 12 years
* In saving many souls for Christ, he was despised by the Celtic Druids who were pagans… he was captured and imprisoned by them on numerous occasions, but miraculously escaped each time
* Saint Patrick originated the symbol of the shamrock as he used it to teach the concept of the Trinity: three leaves connected by one stem (and isn’t it cool that each leaf is in the shape of a heart?)
* He died on March 17 AD 461, which is why we celebrate his life on this day
* Although he is celebrated as a Saint, Patrick and the early Celtic Church of Ireland rejected any foreign control of the church, recognizing only Jesus Christ as head of the Church. Roman Catholicism was not embraced until many years later
From The Confession, written by Saint Patrick as he neared the end of his life:
“And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and then turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my low estate, and took pity on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son. Hence I cannot be silent – and indeed, I ought not to be – about the many blessings and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity… for this we can give to God in return after having been chastened by Him, to exalt and praise His wonders before every nation that is anywhere under the heaven.”
So I challenge you, today as your kids dress in green, pinch each other and wear shirts that say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” and joke about leprechauns and pots of gold, take a moment to teach your children the truth about Saint Patrick. And the real reason we celebrate his life. He devoted himself to following Christ and teaching others about the Good News. Even though it meant returning to the place of his initial enslavement, he followed God’s plan for his life, “to exalt and praise His wonders before evey nation that is anywhere under heaven.” How inspirational is that!? He was a man with a passion and a purpose. And he changed the face of Christianity forever and in doing so he saved countless people for Christ. Now THAT’S something to celebrate!