Friday

St. Patrick - a saint worthy of celebrating



On Sunday, March 17, many people will celebrate St. Patrick's Day by wearing green, eating corned beef and cabbage or by sporting little shamrocks on their clothing. When I was a child, not wearing green to school meant that you were going to be pinched, and that was not fun.


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While observing these traditions, we should take time to remember Patrick - the saint that St. Patrick's Day honors.


In 387, Patrick was born in Scotland to Christian parents. He did not adopt their beliefs until his adolescence, after pirates kidnapped him and sold him as a slave to an Irish sheep farmer. While in Ireland, Patrick learned the people's language and religious customs. He grew in his love for God. Six years after his capture, he escaped and returned to Scotland.


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Later, after seeing a vision of Irish children calling him to return, Patrick began studying for the priesthood. He returned to Ireland many years later and evangelized the entire nation.


It was not easy. Patrick fought spiritual forces brought on by the Irish pagan religion and had adventures along the same lines as Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament.


Today we remember Patrick for using a shamrock to explain the Trinity. This portion of St. Patrick's famous prayer called St. Patrick's Breastplate reflects his deep love for God:


Christ with me, 
Christ before me, 
Christ behind me, 
Christ within me, 
Christ beneath me, 
Christ above me, 
Christ at my right, 
Christ at my left... 
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, 
Christ in every eye that sees me, 
Christ in every ear that hears me. 

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Sources 

This is a really good article. It's long but worth the read. You'll see why I likened St. Patrick's adventures to that of Elijah and Elisha of the Old Testament.
Moran, Patrick Francis Cardinal. "St. Patrick." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 14 Mar. 2013 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11554a.htm>. .


 Severance, Diane, Ph.D. and Graves, Dan, MSL. "First American St. Patrick's Day Celebration. Christianity.com, June 2007 <http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1701-1800/1st-american-st-patricks-day-celebration-11630222.html?utm_source=This%20Week%20in%20Christian%20History%20-%20Christianity.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03/13/2013>.