Rather than spend time on who, or what St. Patrick did to be honored, I thought it would be interesting to write of a few parallels between his life and that of David and Paul.
The legends regarding St. Patrick all seem to concur that when he was a youth of sixteen, he was captured from his home in Great Britain by Irish pirates and taken back to Ireland where he became a slave. One of his many jobs required him to care for animals. Much like David, we can sense that Patrick spent time out in the fields keeping watch over sheep. He must have spent a lot of time alone searching the night sky viewing the stars as he kept watch over his flock.
It is interesting to me that in researching Patrick, it is said that that his father was a deacon and his grandfather a priest. While Christianity did flourish under Gallienas during the years of 253-268 in Roman Britain, Christians were persecuted severely under Diocletian in 303. Drawing from that history, I assume that these two men were probably pretty strong in their faith.
Like many youth, however, Patrick doesn’t seem to have been all that interested in the faith from what we can determine of his young life. It takes capture and slavery to ‘refine’ Patrick into doing a great deal of soul-searching in his loneliness. He is inprisoned in way with the bars of Paul but has the same results in that this imprisoned state will leave a lasting impression upon us.
Patrick escapes Ireland and returns to England to become a clerk where he later becomes convicted to return to Ireland to spread the Good News of the life and death of Jesus. He has experienced a revelation that will not only turn HIS life around but impact many lives of others.
David, the shepherd boy who answered God’s call, from whose line Jesus will emerge; who creates Psalms of praise and deliverance.
Paul, the Roman citizen, blinded then converted, who ministers and is imprisoned for his faith.
Patrick, the youthful slave, who became a faithful servant to minister to those who had once captured him.
Three very different stories with the same attitude found in Colossians 1:3-6-We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
Remember St. Patrick for who he was a slave of this world, changed by the grace of God, who went to bring the Good News of REDEMPTION to those who had once imprisoned him..not green beer, ham and cabbage, and dancing.