Born in the 5th Century, Saint Patrick found his home in a Roman controlled province of Great Britain. That is until at the age of 16, Irish raiders laid siege to the province and carried Patrick into slavery. It was there that God began to instill in him a zealous heart for the Lord. After 6 long years of herding sheep and pigs, Patrick grew weary and could no longer put up with the poor treatment that was the norm for Irish slaves in Patrick’s setting. Malnourished, hardly clothed, and near death, he fled his master and returned to his home country of Great Britain.
Upon returning to Britain, he was ordained to the ministry in 430 A.D. This would be the beginning of Saint Patrick’s service to God—who would eventually call him back to an all too familiar land. That’s right, not long after his ordination, he would find himself right back where he once was forced into backbreaking and life crushing slavery—Ireland. The people in Ireland were mostly pagans and, as evidenced by the cruel slavery and raiding, they weren’t the most upright individuals. In fact, “wicked” is probably just the right word to describe Patrick’s new mission field. He would face dangers from every direction. Not just from the Irish who openly rejected God but even from those who claimed to serve Christ. Saint Patrick would even go on to describe his time in Ireland in this way:
“Every day I am ready to be murdered, betrayed, and enslaved.”Saint Patrick
With the constant threat of being martyred always before him, still, Patrick would—by the power of the Holy Spirit—become a vessel of God’s power and mercy towards the people of Ireland. Faced with much opposition Staint Patrick would continue to preach Christ and Him crucified to the lost souls of that lush Celtic isle. Baptizing and discipling people all across the land, he led a spiritual revolution throughout the entire country. Thousands would eventually claim Christ as their hope of salvation through the preaching and evangelizing of Patrick. This of course, came at a cost. He was imprisoned at least once and had to bear through several executions of people who were captured and kidnapped by soldiers simply for converting to Christianity.
Saint Patrick would eventually go on to pass into glory on March 17, 461 A.D. Though he would not live to see it, in the 7th Century most of Irelands faithful followers of Christ could be traced back to none other than St. Patrick. Today we celebrate not a man, not a movement, and not even a holiday. We celebrate the God who alone calls men and women of all kinds to His service. One that through the mouths of ordinary men establishes His extraordinary will. Even a lowly man, born into a village in Great Britain and carried away into a life of slavery. God delights Himself in using the weak and foolish things of the world to shame the wise. Each one of us can be used to harold His truth before a lost and dying world—just like Patrick.
Below are five of the most cherished sayings attributed to Saint Patrick, sayings which we would do well to hear—
Without Christ we truly are hopeless. Lest He be in and with us, we are lost and undone. (John 15:5)
Christ be with me, Christ 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 in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
In Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
May the strength of God pilot us,
May the wisdom of God instruct us,
May the hand of God protect us,
May the word of God direct us,
Be always ours this day and for evermore.
Christ is our sovereign and everlasting King. He and He alone rules the nations and establishes our every step. (1 Timothy 6:15)
God, my God, omnipotent King, I humbly adore thee. Thou art King of kings, Lord of lords. Thou art the Judge of every age. Thou art the Redeemer of souls. Thou art the Liberator of those who believe. Thou art the Hope of those who toil. Thou art the Comforter of those in sorrow. Thou art the Way to those who wander. Thou art Master to the nations. Thou art the Creator of all creatures. Thou art the Lover of all good. Thou art the Prince of all virtues. Thou art the joy of all Thy saints. Thou art life perpetual. Thou art joy in truth. Thou art the exultation in the eternal fatherland. Thou art the Light of light. Thou art the Fountain of holiness. Thou art the glory of God the Father in the height. Thou art Savior of the world. Thou art the plenitude of the Holy Spirit. Thou sittest at the right hand of God the Father on the throne, reigning for ever.
God’s unmeasurable grace is unmerited, unearned, and undeserved. (Ephesians 2:8)
I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure.
God’s sheep are preserved from before the foundation of the world. That Jesus truly never loses one of His sheep. (John 6:37)
God watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.
God bless you this Saint Patrick’s day. And praise God for faithful men everywhere like Patrick who aren’t afraid to stir up a little Godly trouble in the name of Christ and for His Kingdom.
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