WHO WAS HE???
Born, 386 AD in Britain and died in 460 AD in Ireland, Patrick descended from a grandfather who was a priest and a father who was a deacon in the Roman church. At this time in history, Christianity had become part of the Roman culture.
According to Stanley Ward of crosswalk.com, Patrick was not only a theologian, but he loved people. He fought for their rights as an activist.
First, as a theologian, he was a bishop to the Irish. But it did not begin this way. At the young age of 16, he was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland from his British homeland. He then spent six years as a shepherd since as a sold slave. He truly learned humility, as he knew nothing of the finer things he had in Britain. All he had was his time with God to pray without ceasing. During the evening at one point, he heard a voice tell him to head back to Britain, and after “walking to a seaport, he miraculously found passage away from Ireland, and eventually, back to Britain.” (Ward)
Sadly, he missed out on being educated, but this “weakness” became a strength. When he went back to Ireland, he did not have the polish or the refined skills to make him sound intellectual. However, his closeness with God and his honest prayers made him a beacon to the Irish, not his speaking skills. (He did train in the priesthood) Moreover, his love for nature, and seeing God in all of it was much of His appeal. Apparently, he used a three-leaf clover to illustrate the Trinity – “Father, Son, and Spirit are one God. Three persons in one.”” Simple, yet elegant.
As a lover of people and their rights, he supposedly was one of the first anti-slavery proponents. He wrote Letter to Coroticus to plead British Christian leaders for the safe return of slaves. Nothing came of this as many now saw him as an Irish man instead of Roman which weakened his influence in Britain.
In fact, he fought for women as he saw them as the backbone of society.
Thanks to Patrick, slavery ceased in Ireland. He fought with God’s love; not with fists or hate.
Be a St. Patrick now
Ward notes that modern St. Patricks, “1. Love God deeply and are able to discern His calling; 2. Are able to teach deep truths by illustrations from common experience; and 3. Demonstrate their faith through a genuine love for people, advocating the cause of those who cannot defend themselves; often this advocacy is motivated by personal experience.”
His life was filled with challenges, obstacles, pain and suffering. He mourned for the lost and the oppressed. He lacked the “accoutrements” of finer education and articulate speech. However, that is what made him so attractive and relatable.
Let’s be reminded that it doesn’t take perfection to be used and to make a difference. Broken vessels are what He wants: Broken yet not destroyed. Humbled yet not proud. Dependent on HIM; not on ourselves.