Who Was St. Patrick and Why Does it Matter Today?

Did you remember to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day? You better hope you don’t get pinched if you did forget. It’s strange how after all these years, the most popular tradition for St. Patrick’s Day is wearing green, and pinching those who don’t. What can we really learn about St. Patrick’s Day, and the man for whom we celebrate this holiday? After reading through St. Patrick’s Confessio I was able to see principles of his life that we can all learn from.

  • He knew what it was to be free, and he knew what it was to be enslaved
  • He dedicated himself to prayer
  • He went where God led him

When Patrick was about 16 years of age, he was taken prisoner and worked as a slave. It was his imprisonment that took him to Ireland, and away from his British home. His captivity led him to look up toward the only hope he knew there was. While he confesses that he wasn’t truly a believer at the time, it was his enslavement that opened his eyes to the freedom that awaited on the other side.

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:20-22

While many of us haven’t worn physical chains, faced imprisonment, or been forced into slavery, we can still relate with this early part of Patrick’s journey when we take the time recognize what it was like to be enslaved by sin. Much like Patrick, you can find your freedom and salvation through Christ. How many times have you found yourself a slave to sin, only to remember the wisdom of your youth, and return to Christ for your freedom?

His enslavement led him to Ireland, where he was given the opportunity to tend sheep, and pray throughout the day. Patrick was able to walk out his newfound faith by following in the footsteps of the Great Shepherd. Most important to Patrick was the prayer.

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer is such a simple task, yet a discipline that we can often at times neglect. As Patrick worked in the fields, the Spirit quickened his heart, working out a deeper communion with God through prayer. We can all find a little extra time in the day to pray. What is God showing you through your prayers?

Even after Patrick returned home to his parents after several years, he was burdened with the task to return to Ireland with a heart for missions work. Even though he faced persecution and opposition, his heart for the gospel and the people of Ireland empowered him to continue.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matthew 28:19-20

Patrick knew what it was to be taken prisoner, and he knew what it was to be free. So he had a heart to help others in Ireland find the true freedom he found in Christ. Who are the people you are called to reach with the gospel? Where do you feel God is leading you to go?

As you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day this year, you can keep in mind some of the details of who Patrick was, and how he spread the gospel to Ireland. When you see others who are wearing green, consider how you can follow in Patrick’s legacy and share your faith with others.

 

Hi, I’m Micah. I began my career with Mardel in 2006, while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. While I love to write fiction and convey stories through novels, I also have a passion for studying philosophy, theology, and apologetics. I enjoy the faith-building resources available at Mardel, and look forward to sharing what new topics and information I’m learning.

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