Jake Walker | Category: Culture
What does Saint Patrick’s Day make you think of? Most people think of shamrocks, the color green, and drinking. The sad reality is that the majority of people who celebrate St. Paddy’s day have no idea who Patrick really was. Even those who know about the man Patrick are most likely confused by the myths that surround his name. Two common legends about Patrick are that he drove out all the snakes in Ireland (although it would be awesome if this happened) and that he used a shamrock to teach the Trinity.
So, who was the real Patrick? Patrick was born in 415 A.D. in Britain and as a teenager, his hometown was raided by Irish pirates who enslaved him. During the time of his enslavement, Patrick was saved by Christ. Patrick says this about his time of bondage, “The love of God was thus growing stronger and stronger, and the fear of Him and faith were increasing, and the Spirit, so that in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers.” After six years, Patrick escaped from his captors in Ireland and made his way back to Britain to be reunited with his family.
Sometime in the 440’s A.D., God called Patrick back to Ireland to share the gospel with the country who enslaved him. Patrick was a man who knew his unworthiness for the mission God gave him. He starts his Confessions by saying “I am Patrick--a sinner-- the most unsophisticated and unworthy among all the faithful of God.” In spite of his weaknesses, God used Patrick to save thousands of people in Ireland as he went from tribe to tribe preaching the gospel. Patrick writes, “Wherefore, behold, how the Irish who never had the knowledge of God, and hitherto worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called the sons of God.” He was named a bishop during his ministry, which made him accountable to bishops in Britain. At the same time, Patrick’s ministry was difficult, as he received much persecution from the Druids (i.e. Celtic priests). Patrick writes, “Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere.”  By God’s grace, Patrick was used to reach many people in Ireland with the gospel. In 492 A.D., Patrick died, having completed his call to ministry in Ireland.
As we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let us remember the life of a sinner saved by God’s grace, who reached many for Christ. The real Patrick did stand up and he gave his life to proclaiming the gospel to the lost of Ireland. When we see the shamrocks and put on our green clothing, we should celebrate by remembering and sharing the gospel with the lost as Patrick did over 1,500 years ago.
To read The Confession of Patrick online see the link below:
 Saint Patrick, The Confession of St. Patrick with an Introduction and Notes, trans. Thomas Olden (Dublin; London: James McGlashan; James Nisbet and Co., 1853), 52.
 Patrick, The Confession, 43.
 Patrick, The Confession, 67.
 Mark Galli and Ted Olsen, “Introduction,” 131 Christians Everyone Should Know (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 230.
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