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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thoughts on St. Patrick

Perhaps because I am Irish—or at least partly so—I have been thinking of St. Patrick today. Not the pinching and the need for green—as most have made of it, but the spirit of St. Patrick.

Patrick was born in the late 300's. His dad was a deacon in the church where he grew up in Scotland. When he was sixteen, Ireland invaded Scotland and Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland. Can you imagine the grief of his parents? Can you imagine his own despair?

He'd not really followed God in his growing up years. I think of how that knowledge affected his parents when he was dragged off. If only they could have had the solace that he walked with God no matter where he went or what he experienced. While a slave in Ireland, Patrick was assigned duty as a shepherd. His many hours alone in the field with the sheep gave him time to reflect on his upbringing and time to seek the God of his father, which he did.

One day an angel of the Lord appeared to him and he gave his life to Jesus. Later, God gave him a series of supernatural dreams. One such dream gave him the strategy to escape Ireland—which he followed successfully. He escaped to Britain and began studies for the priesthood. During that time, the Lord met him in another dream. He said, "I want you to return to Ireland—not as a slave—but as My minister to take Jesus to them." Patrick obeyed.

We can attribute the three leaf clover as Ireland's national emblem to Patrick. He used it to teach people about the Trinity.

I think again of his parents. How delighted they would be to know that their son not only came to know God but that he served him well all the days of his adult life. It proves to me that no matter what, we parents who love God and pray for our children have nothing to worry about. God can reach them no matter how far or by what means they leave our nest. God is good. St. Patrick reminds us of that goodness.