Did you know Saint Patrick wasn’t even Irish, and that when he was sixteen he was captured by pirates and sold off to be a slave in Ireland? (My son thought that was pretty cool. Plus, he now knows there weren’t any snakes in Ireland before Patrick arrived, so he didn’t drive them out.)
Until that sudden change as a teen, Patrick had zero interest in Christianity. Through suffering and isolation from others, God entered his life and transformed him from the inside out. As a new son of God he was never forsaken and prayed diligently day and night while alone tending to his master’s sheep and livestock in the Irish countryside. God spoke to him a way of escape, featuring a long 200-mile trek to board a ship waiting at the coast. Encountering the risen Christ in this special Providence, Patrick learned to trust God and serve Him faithfully and passionately. Upon arriving home he found training in the ways of Jesus (in seminary, becoming a monk), and gave up his inheritance on earth for the sake of the Gospel.
There’s much more to Patrick’s story. I’ll let this super short video from From Timothy Paul Jones and Church History Made Easy share some highlights:
With undaunted courage and perseverance — becoming enlightened by the Gospel and motivated by the grace of God, which overwhelmed his heart and soul — Patrick later returned to the place of his misery to serve, embodying courage and generosity. Back in Ireland he did the work of a “saint,” spread the Gospel, loving people who loved themselves and didn’t love God. Knowing God personally and developing sound theology, Patrick used the terms of the pagans to explain the terms of Grace, the Cross, and the Kingdom of God. (Legend has it he took the common yet sacred-shaped shamrock to describe the character of God, explaining the Trinity in a visual way).
A great missionary, a great man. Can’t wait to meet Patrick in heaven, snakes or no snakes.