So, we all love St. Paddy’s Day for the green and the four-leaf clovers and the luck. We think of the Irish and their tenacity, gumption, and . . . beer. I happen to appreciate this holiday. I love the color green. I don’t drink beer or ale, though. It just smells bad. My opinion! You don’t have to agree and we can still get along! 🙂
If you don’t know how Saint Patrick’s Day got started, I’d like to share what I know of the beginnings. See, this is as much a Scotland/Great Britain history as it is an Irish one.
To begin with, Patrick (Patricius, Latin) actually had a different name: Maewyn Succat.
Maewyn was a young man from Scotland (Northern Britain/Wales . . . was likely of Roman descent. His father was a bishop) who, at around the age of sixteen, was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland. He served as a shepherd under a harsh master on the island of Ireland. He wasn’t a believer before being taken into slavery, but he had the roots of faith planted before his abduction.
About six years passed, but eventually Maewyn escaped his captivity and fled to England where he studied and became a priest. His heart was softened toward the Irish who had very little knowledge of the faith of Christ, so he decided to go back and share the gospel.
When he returned to them, he easily could have been killed, but he wasn’t. He stayed among his once-captors and loved them. He used a three-leaf clover as a way to explain the Trinity to the people of Ireland.
Patrick was sainted by the Catholic church because of some purported miracles he performed. He has also been thought to be confused with another man named Palladius.
Regardless, what I think is important to take away from the life and history of St. Patrick is the fact that he could have hated the Irish and wished the worst for them, but instead his heart was changed by the love and grace of God, and so he wanted to share that with the people who made him a slave. See, as a follower of Christ, he knew that he was already a slave before he’d been captured. He was a slave to sin, but he chose a better master: Jesus Christ, and it changed him. He wanted that same change for the people of Ireland. How cool is that?!