St Patricks Feast Day
Patrick was not Irish to begin with. He was born in Scotland at a time when Ireland was a land of pagan kings and warriors. His parents were Romans, probably there as merchants or administrators of a Roman Colony.
When Patrick was sixteen years old, Irish warriors raided Scotland and carried captives back to Ireland to be slaves. Patrick was among them. His head was shaved and he was put to work as a shepherd for an Irish Druidic high priest named Milchu. He must have been very scared and lonely.
For the next six years, Patrick learned the language and customs of the Irish people. This knowledge helped him later when he returned to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick also grew in love and devotion to God, often praying one hundred prayers a day and more at night.
One night, in a dream, God told Saint Patrick to escape his master and go to the coast, two hundred miles away. Patrick did as he was told and made the journey safely. He found a ship about to sail for Britain, but the sailors refused to take him with them. After a silent prayer to God, they agreed.
After three days of sailing, they landed and began to walk. It was a hard trip, they had no food or shelter. The others laughed at Patrick’s belief in God but he told them; ‘Turn in good faith and with all your heart to the Lord my God to whom nothing is impossible.’ Suddenly they came across a herd of pigs and after killing them, had enough food for the rest of their trip.
In another dream, Patrick heard the people of Ireland crying out to him:’ We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.’ Patrick was willing but not ready for such a big job, so he began to study to be a priest and eventually was ordained. Pope Saint Clestine sent a man named Palladius to bring the Gospel to Ireland, but Palladius died. Saint Patrick was recommended for the job and willingly accepted it. He was ordained a bishop (so that he could ordain priests while he was there.)
Saint Patrick arrived back in Ireland on March 25, 433 and immediately began his work of teaching and preaching the Good News to the people of Ireland. Patrick used the shamrock’s three leaves on one stem to explain the Trinity, and it has been associated with him and the Irish since that time.He converted chieftains, the family of the King, and many others. Some of these people donated land and buildings to him for churches. God performed many miracles and healings through Saint Patrick, so that everyone could see the power and mercy of God. The sick were healed, the dead were raised, the lame could walk and many miraculous flows of water still fill wells today.
It wasn’t easy though. Patrick and his followers were imprisoned and sentenced to death several times, people conspired against him to the Kings, an entire county was plundered by enemies of Saint Patrick and many people were killed. Saint Patrick never gave up his work though, and by the time he was an old man all of Irleand was Christian. What a great life and work to offer to God, what a great thing God had done through Saint Patrick!
“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”
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