You probably know that March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. He is the patron saint of Ireland. But, do you know where and when he was born? He was actually born near the west coast of England in what is now Scotland, in the late 300’s, during the time Rome ruled Britain. His family was well-to-do and Christian, but he was rebellious as a young teen. (Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.) At age 16, Patrick was captured by Irish marauders, taken to Ireland, and sold into slavery to a Druid chieftain. (Eph. 6:5, Slaves be obedient to those who are your earthly masters…as to Christ…doing the will of God from the heart….) For six years Patrick lived in poverty, tending sheep on the hillsides. There he had the opportunity to learn the Irish customs, language, and culture, and time to think about the Lord he had rejected at home. He asked Christ for forgiveness and was filled with the Spirit. (Romans 10:9-10, …believe…and confess…)(Acts 13:52, …filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.) He was told in a dream to flee to the coast and escape by boat; he returned to England.
Patrick dedicated his life to God, to being holy, and doing God’s will. (John 4:34, Jesus said…my food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.) He studied in France under the Bishop of Tours and became a priest. (2 Tim. 2:15, Study to show thyself approved, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth.) In a dream, Patrick heard God’s call to go back to Ireland as a missionary. (Similar to Acts 16:9-10, A vision appeared …in the night…beseeching him, saying ‘Come over…and help us’….and we sought to go…concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.) He was made a Bishop and returned to Ireland around 433; he went about preaching the Word of God, though always in danger of persecution.
Legend says that Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, as an illustration to teach the concept of the Trinity. (Matt. 6:28, ...consider the lilies of the field.) (John 15:26, ...whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me…)(See also Gen. 1:1-2 and John 1:1.) Patrick preached for 30 years. As time went on, much of the whole country was converted, and the people’s faith grew. He died, supposedly on March 17th.
Though Patrick is usually associated with Catholicism, the story of his repentance and conversion, his missionary endeavor, and zeal, is an inspiration to all believers.