Born in 385 A.D., in Roman Britannia (modern-day Dumbarton, Scotland), Patrick didn’t know he’d leave such an impression on this world.
We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with… GREEN!! And- sad to say- leprechauns, pots of gold, and rainbows got thrown into the mix of festivities. (What even is a leprechaun?? Another post for another time…)
Honestly, how often do you think of St. Patrick when St. Patrick’s Day comes around? How many people even know that leprechauns don’t exist and there’s a bigger reason for this holiday of green??
That’s why I’m here. Good friends… I am here to change the world… I will set this planet to right! St. Patrick’s story will be told to all, starting with you precious people!
(That’s called optimism).
“My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken, prisoner. I was about sixteen at the time.” -Saint Patrick’s opening lines in his autobiography, Confession
St. Patrick wastes no time in getting to the point of his story! He skips quickly over the first 16 years of his life- and who can blame him? Being kidnapped by barbaric Irish pirates is a pretty exciting place to start a story!
The next two lines read thus:
“At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others.”
Many people presume that St. Patrick came directly from Ireland. He actually came from Scotland and, as you know, was kidnapped. To be a slave. He was taken 200 miles inland to be a shepherd and farm laborer. As he writes, he explains that after 6 years of being a slave he sees a vision- or dream of some sort- showing him an escape route.
Patrick made a break for it and crossed 200 miles until he reached a boat- a boat all set and ready to take him home. Patrick made it home safely and quickly, but he didn’t stick around for long.
This man explains that, before his capture, his faith meant very little to him. That changed during his captivity. The little bit of faith he did have was what kept him alive and buoyant through those dark days in his life. He says this in his book:
“That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.”
And, so, with this, he endeavored to share God’s love with Ireland. The land that held him captive for 6 years.
Once back in Scotland, his homeland, he committed fully to the faith and became a priest. Then he set sail for Ireland- this was a man on a mission.
Patrick’s goal was to see all of Ireland converted, and he had no intention of seeing anything less! But… that idea didn’t sell well with Loegaire (or Loeghaire) the pagan king of Ireland. Patrick’s life was often threatened. He faced so much danger that a dagger became part of his daily accessories.
But these setbacks didn’t phase this saint.
In his book, Confessions, Patrick records the conversion of the once-pagan king and his baptism (done by Patrick, himself). And- lo and behold- much of Ireland followed their king into this new religion of love and peace.
Patrick became known as the “Apostle of Ireland”. The saint planted churches, as he traveled Ireland- crisscrossing the land, searching it inside-out for people to save.
There are legends upon legends of dear St. Pat… such as how it is believed by many that Patrick rid Ireland of all snakes and saved their whole civilizations. Another legend is about the well-known shamrock. Some believe that Patrick used the shamrock as an example of the Trinity- the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is, however, no evidence for this. He didn’t write it in his autobiography.
Something that’s kind of funny is that his title is but a legend as well. He has never been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church… therefore, he is not actually a saint!
Legend further claims that he died on March 17 in 461 A.D. A monument in remembrance of this man stands proudly on the top of a hill in Saul, the town where Patrick planted his first church.
However, it’s more than a monument that this world remembers him by! St. Patrick’s Day was created in honor of him, but, sadly, has been turned into an excuse for drinking heavily and partying.
This man was a Catholic if you haven’t guessed already. He was not a Protestant. So… should Christians celebrate this holiday?
If you are a Christian and celebrate this holiday, consider wearing the color orange.
Ok, so why orange?
Orange represents Protestantism, whereas green represents Catholicism. After 1798 the color of green was closely associated with Roman Catholicism and orange with Protestantism—after William of Orange, the Protestant king.
When you sport an outfit of all orange on the greenest day of the year… guess who’s gonna ask about it! Everyone!!! (Witnessing oppertunites there!)
I hope this was educational, enlightening, and fun to read. It was fun to write! I love learning history, especially history about our faith.
God bless you all!!!! And Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!!! (evening…. *echem*)
Featured image taken from StockSnap.