Are you wearing your green clothes today? Do you exhibit your shamrocks and leprechauns? Does the title “Saint” put you in mind of more myth than historical fact? When he was a slave, where did he find the strength to escape bondage? And when he was free, where did he find the strength to go back to where he'd been a slave?
In my travels through
, I heard legends about Patrick, many of which sounded like pure superstition. I learned how earthily human Patrick was, and yet, what a powerful apostle of Jesus Christ. Ireland
Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was born in southern
England or to a wealthy Christian family. Patricius, son of Calpornius, was born around 410 AD, and at age 15, he was abducted by Irish slavers. He existed in misery and terror for several years as a shepherd in the far north of Wales , “praying a hundred times a day and as many at night,” he said, for deliverance. In a dream, an angel told him to escape. After a 185-mile journey, he took ship (or was abducted by more raiding sailors), and came ashore in continental Europe or Ireland , where he and the sailors nearly starved. When Patrick prayed for food, God sent a herd of pigs into their path, which they slaughtered and devoured. The pagans were impressed by Patrick’s intimacy and favor with so powerful a God, and they converted to Christianity. Wales
After religious education and ordination in Europe, he returned to
as a missionary and founded an evangelistic movement that lasted for centuries. Many miracles were attributed to him, and some might be true! Patrick realized as a young man, though, where his true power rested: not in a talisman or legend, tradition or affiliation, nationality or culture. His source of power was Christ Jesus. Ireland
From an elegant and eloquent prayer Patrick composed, these words still inspire and convict us today: …Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today through a mighty strength.