Tomorrow I am participating in a Saint Patrick’s Day Blog Hop, and at first I had no idea what to write. We are not huge St. Patrick’s Day people. What came to my mind was a story my mom used to tell us every year during family devotions about St. Patrick’s Day.
The story was produced by Children’s Evangelism Fellowship back in the 1970’s. It seems to be historically correct, but I love how it starts off saying how Patrick is only a saint because he trusted in Christ as his Savior. According to I Corinthians 1:2 and Ephesians 1:1-4, anyone who has received Christ as his Savior is a saint. And did you know that Patrick is not a saint that has been “canonized” by the Roman Catholic church? “He was proclaimed a saint by popular acclaim, probably with the approval of a bishop. The official process for canonization did not come until about the 12th century.”
Here are some facts about his life:
- His real name was Patricius Magonus Sucatus, but he became known as Patrick.
- He lived in Great Britain along the seacoast in a small village.
- His parents were Roman immigrants who believed on Jesus Christ as their Savior.
- Patrick, however, was not a Christian.
- Patrick was taken as a prisoner by Irish pirates when he was 16.
- He thought this was his punishment from God because he had no time for God.
- Patrick was sold as a slave to a chieftain named Milchu was was a rich, cruel Druid. Druids were witches, magicians, and sun worshipers.
- Patrick’s job was to take care of the pigs and sheep, and he had to sleep in a cave and hunt for his own food.
- He turned to God during these slave years. He remembered what he had been taught as a boy and asked Christ to save him.
- He made friends with other slaves and told them about God. He also learned about the Druids and learned the language of Ireland. He was a slave for 6 years.
- He seemed to hear God speak to his heart telling him that he would return to his own country. A few nights later he dreamed that a ship from his own country was 200 miles away in a harbor. He went to the ship, but the captain would not let him on as he had no money. He prayed that God would get him on that ship, and the captain came after him and told him he could come on the ship.
- The ship was shipwrecked on the coast of Britain. After 3 months, he found the village where he grew up. His parents were still alive.
- One night he had a dream that the people of Ireland were asking him to come back and teach them about God.
- His parents and other church leaders opposed him going back to Ireland. Patrick had to sell his title of nobility in order to become the “slave of Christ serving the barbaric nation.”
- Patrick was in his mid-40’s when he returned to Ireland.
- When he got to Ireland, he suffered persecution. Listen to what he wrote:
So at last I came here to the Irish gentiles to preach the gospel. And now I had to endure insults from unbelievers, to ‘hear criticism of my journeys’ and suffer many persecutions ‘even to the point of chains.’…And should I prove worthy, I am ready and willing to give up my own life, without hesitation, for his name…There was always someone talking behind my back and whispering, ‘Why does he want to put himself in such danger among his enemies who do not know God?’
- There are different reports of what happened next. Supposedly, he went to take money back to Milchu, his old owner, as he had run away. One report says that Milchu set fire to his own house, threw himself in the flames, and died (believing that Patrick was coming with Roman soldiers.) Another report was that he was one of Patrick’s first converts.
- He is famous for lighting a fire before the “king” did. Here is a note I found about it:
Part of the pagan worship of fall to spring, from the beginning of the summer, was that a fire was lit, and first of all, the fire on the hill of Tara and no other lights at all in Ireland.”
This monastery on the hill of Slane is where Patrick — in direct defiance of the high king of Tara — lit a forbidden fire.
Notes Rev. Brady, “He was summoned before the king, and he explained that he wasn’t a threat, because he was bringing the new light, the light of Christ, the Savior of the world, the Light of the world.”
- According to the story I have, both the king’s youngest brother and Ireland’s greatest poet became Christians that night, and the king made a law that Patrick could continue to preach without being harmed.
- Patrick spent 20 years going all over Ireland telling the people of Ireland about the God who could save them. He built small wooden churches protected by high walls of dirt. He also had wooden buildings built where men could copy the Word of God. Supposedly he had large walls of thick dirt which hardened to clay or log fences put around the buildings. Many years later, invaders burned many books, but the Bibles in Patrick’s wooden halls were saved.
- A famous poem he wrote is called “The Breastplate.”
My thoughts from my study on St. Patrick:
The Druids often tried to poison him. One time a barbarian warrior speared Patrick’s chariot driver to death in an attempt to kill Patrick. He was often ambushed at his evangelistic events, and it is noted that he was enslaved again for a short time. He had to purchase safe passage through a hostile warlord’s land in order to continue on his journey. Another time Patrick and his companions were taken as prisoners and were going to be killed, but they were later released.
In Confessions, Patrick wrote, “As every day arrives, I expect either sudden death or deception or being taken back as a slave or some such other misfortune. But I fear none of these, since I look to the promise of heaven and have flung myself into the hands of the all-powerful God, who rules as Lord everywhere.”
- People are still being persecuted today for the sake of Christ! You can read current stories on The Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and Persecution.org.
- I love how Voice of the Martyrs closes out their article on St. Patrick:
We may never be enslaved, imprisoned or beaten because of our faith in Christ, but many may make fun of us for believing in Jesus’ promise of heaven and placing our faith in a God they do not see with their eyes and cannot touch with their hands. I pray this version of Patrick’s courageous life will inspire you to stand firm in Christ and stand strong for Him as you tell others about the greatest gift we can ever be given—salvation through Jesus!
What is the use of hearing this heroic and inspiring story? It is to give us courage to stand strong for God like Patrick did! He was a regular man who was used by God to proclaim the gospel, resulting in tens of thousands coming to faith in Christ.
I will have some St. Patrick’s Day Minute to Win It Games to share tomorrow and some cookies you can make for St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday!
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