Thursday, March 12, 2015

St. Patrick... Let's start back at the beginning

St. Patrick, son of Calpornius, son of Potitus was a Roman citizen born in Britain. His father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. As noted yesterday St. Patrick was absolutely not Irish. He spoke the British language (no longer spoken, I'm fairly certain; that'd be a dead language) and he would have been learning Latin in school as well. He was of noble birth but his farm would have been nothing like Roman nobility knew. After all he was British (on the very outskirts of the Roman world). As a youth Patrick had no interest in the Christian religion. He was just the son of a Christian family. I find this interesting to note because I have seen commentary on how horrendous an act it was for this pompous Patrick to bring Christianity to the Irish people and "destroy" their culture and way of life.

One night when Patrick's parents were away from the villa a band of Irish raiders looted Patrick's farm almost certainly murdering anyone that would pose a threat to them and then enslaving anyone who'd bring them a profit back in Ireland. Slavery in these times was common place. There were slaves of all different nationalities seemingly everywhere and the Irish raiders made a good profit from capturing and selling slaves. Patrick was taken from his home at the age of 15 and boated off to Ireland in the night. His Christian life of nobility was no more; no more family; no more schooling; no more sleeping in his own bed. He would now spend 6 years as a slave in a foreign land that spoke a foreign language and where there were no traces of Christianity.

What is known of St. Patrick, the most concrete evidence we have from his life, survives in the form of two letters. The original letters are faded, crumbled and gone but six very, very old copies of the letters exist. One copy is in the book of Armagh in the Trinity College library in Dublin. The letters written by Patrick tell a lot about his life and who he was.
After I came to Ireland I watched over sheep. Day by day I began to pray more frequently - and more and more my love of God and my faith in Him and reverence for him began to increase.
-St. Patrick, from his letter titled "Confession"
One of the things that I love most about this man who lived, seemingly a billion years ago is that he was captured into slavery when he was just a youth. He had no love for God when the raiders took him from his life; from everything he knew in the world. But while he was tending sheep as a slave (this was one of the most menial tasks a person could be assigned) in one of the coldest, wettest regions in all of Ireland instead of feeling defeated and angry and just resigning to the fact that his life was over he began to seek God. He began to pray regularly. He actually fell in love with God on a cold Irish hillside in a sheep pasture while being enslaved. Sorry, I don't feel like I can hit upon the slavery issue enough. I mean, that is intense beyond words that I can duly prescribe it. Just there, with that alone, I admire the guy beyond words.


  1. I have a great admiration for ST Patrick also, I also beleive in many of the miracles he wrought in his life time.

    1. I do too. A lot of people say it's just folklore but he seems to have been a very faithful man and without a doubt miracles happen. I have a feeling he did amazing things for the Lord in Ireland and the impact of his ministry is still evident today.

  2. I always admire someone who can turn a terrible situation into a learning experience and grow from it instead of playing the victim which is much easier to do!