2 Timothy 2:9, Acts 16:37

This is St. Patrick’s Day, and unfortunately, some people are thinking of pots of gold, pointy-shoed leprechauns and/or green beer.  I’m thinking of St. Patrick.

Dictionary of Christian Biography says about St. Patrick:

“…the son of a Roman official who was also a deacon (Patrick’s grandfather was a priest), he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland at the age of sixteen.  He made his way back to Britain and trained for the ministry.  At some point he went as ‘Bishop in Ireland’ (his own phrase), and there spent his life evangelizing…”

All About American Holidays says about St. Patrick,

“…during the forty years that the saint worked ‘with apostolic zeal’ in Ireland, he preached to countless persons in many places, baptized thousands of converts, established churches, schools, and at least one college, and consecrated two others.

In 433, after landing near Wicklow, St. Patrick was almost stoned to death, but nothing could diminish his missionary fervor.  Still he begged the pagans to hear him.  In trying to explain the difficult matter of the ‘Trinity in Unity,’ he realized that the people could not understand so he picked a trefoil or shamrock (this small white clover grows abundantly in Ireland and was employed by the Druids to cure diseases) and used its leaves to illustrate his meaning.

St. Patrick told his hearers that the three leaves of the shamrock represented the three members of the Trinity, that the stem was symbolic of the Godhead, and of the Three-in-One.  And as one source has reported, he asked, ‘Is it not as possible for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these leaves to grow upon a single stalk?’  Thus the saint explained and convinced his listeners of this truth.”

Wikipedia says:

“Patrick’s position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.[29]”

In the Bible, Paul was a Roman citizen and was beaten and put in chains.  It’s interesting to note the similarities between St. Patrick and Paul.  What a good example of Christian bravery both men are for us!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!