Today is St. Patrick’s Day when many mark the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But he was born in Roman Britain around AD 389 and died March 17 460 or 493. Roman Britain was the portion of the island of Great Britain which was controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 to ca. AD 410. In AD 313, Emperor Constantine, after converting to Christianity, issued the Edict of Milan which proclaimed religious tolerance throughout the whole empire, thus ending the persecution of the Christians.
St. Patrick witnessed the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. His grandfather, Potitus was a Christian priest and his father, Calpornius a deacon.
As a teenager, Patrick was captured by pirates, sold into slavery and enslaved for 6 years in Ireland where he worked as a herdsman. It was his faith that helped him persevere. He prayed daily and grew in his faith.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~Psalm 91:2
He heard a voice saying that he would go home soon and that his ship was ready. He fled his master and journeyed to a port 200 miles away. There he found a ship and he eventually returned home to Britain. A few years later, he had a vision:
I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.1
It is suggested that the Victoricus of Patrick’s vision was Saint Victricius, bishop of Rouen in the late 4th century and the only European Christian to support and perform the conversion of pagans. He visited Britain in AD 396.2
Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. That is why the shamrock is the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.
So if you go out an celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you are celebrating a Christian holiday.
God’s might to direct me,
God’s power to protect me,
God’s wisdom to protect me,
God’s eye for discerning,
God’s ear for my hearing,
God’s word for my clearing. ~St. Patrick
It was St. Patrick’s unswerving faith and determination that led him to Christianize Ireland which in turn, became the center of Christian influence throughout Europe.
Many of God’s greatest soldiers underwent excruciating trials before God used them. Jesus “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8)
Shall we not then endure whatever degree of trials God sends to mold us?
1 Peter 1:6-7
2 Peter 2:4-9
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