Do You Really Know Saint Patrick?
True Great Commission Obedience
Around the end of the 4th century, a British-Roman infant was born who would change the world. Some individuals in history reveal to us the amazing, sustaining grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Their lives always show the outworking of that grace in how they sought the fulfilling of the Great Commission. Who are we referring to? Patricius, the Apostle of Ireland. We know him today as Saint Patrick.
Our world remembers Saint Patrick more for the myths that were spread about him centuries later than the reality of his life zealously surrendered to the fulfilling of the Great Commission in Ireland!
19 “…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
I am Patrick, a sinner.
Patrick was the son of “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement of Bannavan, a village of Tabernia” (p.17). At sixteen, he was captured by raiders and “was taken into captivity in Ireland together with many thousands of people” (p.17). Despite his father being a prominent deacon, Patrick rebelled against Christ as a youth. Yet in slavery, he considered his suffering to be the just result of having “turned away from God.… We did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation” (p.17-18).
His captors assigned him to tend sheep in Ireland. The time spent alone allowed ample time for him to pray to God. Patrick recounted that in Ireland, “the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief” (p.18). Later, he would escape captivity following a dream in which a voice told him a ship would be waiting to take him to his own country. After a journey of 200 miles, he found the ship, and could return to his family. When he arrived home, God convicted him of the need of the people in Ireland. Patrick would later return to Ireland in the early 5th century. God would use him in miraculous ways while seeing thousands of paganistic barbarians find forgiveness and peace at the feet of Jesus Christ. Patrick recounted,
“Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favors and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.“
Patrick, Saint. The Confession of St. Patrick (p. 18-19). Ichthus Publications. Kindle Edition.
God’s Grace Re-wrote Patrick’s Story
There are many legends and myths about Saint Patrick. Some say that he banished snakes from Ireland. He adopted the shamrock as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. He raised a dead giant. These name but a few. The true story of Patrick is greater than all the man-made legends and myths. Patrick was a man whom God used to impact the world with the Grace of Jesus Christ. God sent a humbled, moral Patrick into a land of boastful paganism and barbarism. Through Patrick, God allowed thousands to see the difference Grace makes.
The best place to learn about the man God used is from Patrick’s own writings. We have two volumes that are attributed to his pen. The Confessio, also called The Confession of Saint Patrick, is the most biographical of the two. The other work titled, Letters to the Soldiers of Coroticus, reveals more of his understanding of God as Trinity.
Patrick’s writings belong to the latter part of his life. They confirm that he was less skilled as a writer than he was persuasive as a speaker. Nevertheless, The Confession of Saint Patrick, a response to criticisms of his mission in Ireland, is a moving revelation of his vocation and of the divine guidance he received in dreams.
Patrick was a very humble person who trusted Christ for everything. Listen to how he describes himself in the opening lines of each of his writings.
“I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple country person, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many…” (p.17).
“I, Patrick, an unlearned sinner who dwells in Ireland…” (location 384).
The Irony of It All
The more you learn about this man who changed the world for the better, the more you will realize the irony of how millions celebrate a day in honor of his name. Every March 17th, we witness festivities that celebrate drunkenness and paganism. This goes to show that many around the world, even those who claim Irish heritage, still have no bearing upon who Patricius really was. If we know Christ, and if we know His servant, Patrick, then we should comprehend the horror that would befall Patrick if he knew the things that were done in his name every year around March 17th.
Do yourself a favor! Get a copy of his works. You can pick them up for your Kindle for around one dollar. Read and get to know the real Patricius. Share the mighty feats that God performed in his graciousness through the man we know as Saint Patrick. Share them with your family and friends.
Patrick had developed a deep relationship with God. He knew Him through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ the Son. Patrick understood that without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there can be no forgiveness for sins when we die. There could be no expectation to abide in His glorious presence in an eternal Heaven. Patrick understood how to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide him in life and in death. Do you know Patrick’s Jesus? Do you have a deep relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ? If not, please contact us and allow us an opportunity to share the wonders of His Gospel of peace with you today.
Parting Prayer from Saint Patrick
As we close this article, take a few moments to read over the prayer below and let it be true of you. Share it with your family and friends today! If you enjoyed our article, consider subscribing to our newsletter below. Leave us a comment and let us know if it encouraged you.
Until next time,
Live Zealously For Christ!
The Breastplate (or Lorica) Prayer of Saint Patrick
A Cry to God for Protection during the Fight Against Paganism
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through the belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness Of the Creator of Creation. I arise today Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom. I arise today Through the strength of the love Cherubim, In obedience of angels, In the service of archangels, In hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In prayers of patriarchs, In predictions of prophets, In preaching of apostles, In faith of confessors, In innocence of holy virgins, In deeds of righteous men. I arise today Through the strength of heaven: Light of sun, Radiance of moon, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of wind, Depth of sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of rock. I arise today Through God's strength to pilot me: God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's host to save me From snares of devils, From temptations of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill, Afar and a near, Alone and in multitude. I summon today all these powers between me and those evils, Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul, Against incantations of false prophets, Against black laws of pagandom Against false laws of heretics, Against craft of idolatry, Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards, Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ to shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding, So that there may come to me abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through belief in the threeness, Through confession of the oneness, Of the Creator of Creation.
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