St. Patrick’s Day
by Amy Hall
St. Patrick’s Day is a deeply humbling, inspiring, and joyful day. I’m ashamed to admit that up until a couple of years ago I knew nothing about St. Patrick, but now that I do, this day truly moves me towards both reflection and action.
Sometime around 400 AD, Patrick, a sixteen-year-old Briton, was kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He had previously rejected the Christian faith of his parents, but during his six years of captivity, he repented and gave his heart to God, praying constantly as he tended sheep alone in the hills. When he escaped and returned to Britain, Patrick was far behind his peers in terms of education and never really caught up, but he worked hard to receive the theological training he needed so he could return to the Irish as a missionary—to the very people who had enslaved him:
I must take this decision [to return to the Irish], disregarding any risks involved, and make known "the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation." Neither must we fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God’s name boldly in every place, so that even after my death a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children, so many people in their thousands whom I have baptized in the Lord.
Thanks to Patrick’s love and service, within a hundred years, the country was transformed from an illiterate, pagan nation of war, slavery, and human sacrifice to the guardian of the literature of Western civilization as Rome crumbled…
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