So it falls to the Saint's day to be on a week when it's also Easter, and a Wedding, and a house full of guests.Â
I'm just saying it may fall between the cracks somewhere.
Patrick - Patron saint of IrelandÂ
"Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere."
Patrick is remembered today as the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland (not true), the teacher who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity (doubted), and the namesake of annual parades in New York and Boston. What is less well-known is that Patrick was a humble missionary (this saint regularly referred to himself as "a sinner") of enormous courage. When he evangelized Ireland, he set in motion a series of events that impacted all of Europe. It all started when he was carried off into slavery by Irish raiders.
A 16-year-old Romanized Briton, Patrick was sold to a cruel warrior chief whose opponents' heads sat atop sharp poles around his palisade in Northern Ireland. While Patrick minded his master's pigs in the nearby hills, he lived like an animal himself, enduring long bouts of hunger, thirst, and isolation. A nominal Christian to this point, he now turned to the Christian God of his fathers for comfort.
"I would pray constantly during the daylight hours," he later recalled. "The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more. And faith grew. And the spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less."
After six years of slavery, a mysterious, supernatural voice spoke to him: "Soon you will return to your homeland."
So Patrick fled and ran 200 miles to a southeastern harbor. There he boarded a ship of traders bound for Europe.
After a few years on the continent, Patrick returned to his family in Englandâ€”only to be called back to Ireland as an evangelist.
"I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut ... and they cried out as with one voice, 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.' I was deeply moved in heart and I could read no further, so I awoke."
Whether Patrick was the first missionary to Ireland or not, paganism was still dominant when he arrived. "I dwell among gentiles," he wrote, "in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things."
Patrick's mission faced the most opposition from the druids, who practiced magic, were skilled in secular learning (especially law and history), and advised Irish kings. Biographies of the saint are replete with stories of druids who "wished to kill holy Patrick."
"Daily I expect murder, fraud or captivity," Patrick wrote, "but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God almighty who rules everywhere."
Read the rest here.