St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching. On March 17th, we celebrate the life of the Saint and all things Irish. Since I was born in Ireland, St. Patrick holds a special place in my heart. My ancestors also shared history with the Saint as my father’s family worked as St. Patrick’s bell keepers. Many people know the name of St. Patrick based on the holiday in his honor. But who was he, and what did he do?
History of St. Patrick
According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, Irish pirates captured Patrick when he was about 16 and took him to Ireland as a slave. He remained there for six years before escaping the island and returning to his family in Britain. After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. Patrick served as a bishop in later life, but they know little about those years. By the seventh century, they revered him as the patron saint of Ireland. Many believe he died around the year 461 and the locals buried him in a town named Downpatrick.
Lessons from the Saint
First, I learned about his missionary heart. Even though he kidnapped and forced into slavery in Ireland, Patrick learned to love the Irish people. After his freedom, Patrick returned home to England, but he heard the Irish people calling to him in his dreams. Those dreams prompted him to become a priest and return to Ireland. St. Patrick turned life’s tragic events into a ministry of serving others.
Second, I learned about his beautiful way of explaining the Holy Trinity in simple terms. Patrick used the shamrock to explain this concept to the pagans in Ireland. He explained that the plant’s three leaves represented the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But even though the plant had three separate leaves, it remained a single plant. The shamrock later became the symbol for St. Patrick and for the Irish. To this day, many people still use this symbol to help others under the triune nature of God.
Finally, I learned how Patrick comprehended the importance of always keeping Christ close to him. His breastplate bore these words:
“Christ be within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ inquired, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.” St. Patrick’s Breastplate.
These simple words speak a profound truth to us today as well. We must remain closely connected to Christ and see Him in everyone and everything around us.
Myths about the St. Patrick’s Day
One of the common myths associated with the Saint is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland probably had no snakes. It is more likely that it is an allegory for his eradication of pagan ideology—with snakes standing in for the serpents of Druid mythology.
Another common belief is that corned beef and cabbage are a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in Ireland. However, my family had never heard of corned beef until we immigrated to America. Irish corned beef was extremely popular in England in the first half of the 1800s. Still, it was far too expensive for rural Irish tenant farmers to eat.
St. Patrick’s Example to us
Patrick was a humble, pious, gentle man whose love and total devotion to and trust in God should be a shining example to each of us. Yet, so complete was his faith in God, and of the importance of his mission, he feared nothing -not even death. So as you celebrate his day this year, please take a moment to remember the Saint behind the celebration and all he taught us about faith.
In honor of this Godly man, I leave you with an Irish Blessing as my prayer for you;
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Do you need prayer? I would love to pray for you. Submit your prayer request on my website at https://yvonne-morgan.com/submit-your-prayer-request-here/
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
22 thoughts on “Godly Lessons from St. Patrick”
Wonderfully informative post my friend. I wondered about the “snakes” legend for many years. Thanks for putting that to rest. His (St. Patrick’s) is a wonderful legacy to emulate, but of course, His life points to Christ, doesn’t it?
Yes it does point us to Christ and how to love like our Savior. Thank you JD. Blessings
Thank you so much for sharing this information. I learned some new things about the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day. 🙂 Have a blessed day!
Thank you Melissa. You too my friend.
That is so inspiring that, as you said, he turned life’s tragic events into a ministry of serving others. That’s a true example of how God can use all things for His glory! Great article!!
It is such a great example for us to try. Thanks Jessica. Blessings
The story of St Patrick is inspiring–so many lessons: forgiveness; faith; perseverance; answering God’s God; loving neighbor; and more. Thank you for sharing, Yvonne.
Thank you Katherine. Many blessings
Thank you for this detailed blog about one of my favorite saints! I sometimes liken his calling to my own: I do “mission work” where I was once held captive: in the throes of addiction. Praise be to God for freedom the deadly “snakes” of addiction!
Thanks Candice. He is an amazing example for all of us. Blessings
Thank you for this wonderful information, Yvonne . I had read some of this but I learned some new fascinating facts about St. Patrick. I just bought a shamrock plant and I will always look at it as an example of the Trinity.
Thanks Barbara. He was a great man of God. Blessings
Thank you for sharing St. Patrick’s story. I love reviewing it each year, for I am a sliver Irish from my paternal grandmother. I have shamrocks blooming in my writing room window. And, as I look at them and their white delicate blooms and stems, I couple them with your facts about Patrick, and my heart is warmed.
Aww that is so cool. May the luck of the Irish shine on you today. Thanks Melinda. Blessings
I’ve always been very impressed by St. Patrick. I love that you’re sharing about him this month. Thanks, Yvonne.
Thank you Annie. Blessings
I enjoyed learning more about St. Patrick and Ireland. You ended this with one of my favorite blessings. Top of the day to you!
Top of the day to you Candyce. Thanks for the comments. Blessings
Yvonne, I like this reminder of the inspiration behind Saint Patrick. Especially how the Shamrock was used to explain the trinity. Much spiritual truth and lessons here to glean from. Thank you!
Thank you Karen. He provides me with lots of inspiration. Blessings
My husband is from Wales. I had just asked him about St. Patrick so your post is quite timely. He always tries to refocus my attention to St. David. Love this post.
Thank you Jennifer. All the saints can teach us many lessons. Blessings