St. Patrick followed Paul’s example that we should not
offend other societies just because they are different. As
long as Christ and God’s Word are not defied, it is ok to
partake in certain rituals, especially if it enables you to
spread the Good News. As a result, Patrick used familiar
Irish symbols and pictures in his ministry. As the main
religion in the region at the time was a nature-based pagan
one, the sun was an important emblem to them. Patrick
combined a sun with a cross to create what is now known
as the Celtic Cross. This does not mean he endorsed
continued practice of the pagan religion. Instead, whatever
life-giving powers people believed came from the sun,
Patrick preached are actually found in the cross. He was
able to redirect their worship of the creation back to the Creator.
St. Patrick’s most powerful legacy was his method of teaching the Trinity. The rolling hills of Ireland are blanketed with a beautiful layer of Shamrocks. Patrick used the precious 3-leaf clover to demonstrate the awesomeness of God to unbelievers. Holding the leaf, Patrick would illustrate how the three leaves are at the same time, one leaf. In one simple object, he demonstrated the beauty of our Heavenly Father, His only Son, and the Holy Ghost as separate entities yet one God. (See Trinity, Or Not Trinity)
As stated in St. Patrick’s Confession:
"For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name."
March 17, 2016
While the secular world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day by donning green hair, waving green flags, wearing green shirts and drinking green beer, the truth of the holiday lies hidden within the green shamrock.
Patrick was born in a Romanized area of Great Britain at the end of the 4th century. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by a group of Irish raiders. While forced to shepherd as a slave, Patrick had no one left to turn to but God. His Christian faith strengthened and grew every day of his captivity. Patrick described his experience in what is known as St. Patrick’s Confession:
"I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many,… I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our presbyters who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.
"And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.”
After spending six years in Ireland, Patrick claims he heard a voice in a dream which, he believed to be God, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. Obeying that voice, Patrick escaped his captures and walked 200 miles to freedom. But this was only the beginning of his life’s journey. Shortly after obtaining freedom, Patrick asserted he was again visited in a dream by an angel and was told to return to Ireland, but this time as a missionary. Lacking proper religious training, he spent the next 15 years studying to become a priest and like Jonah, trying to avoid his fate. Patrick was understandably apprehensive to return to the place of his enslavement, but finally putting his faith in God, he set off for Ireland upon his ordination.
St. Patrick is often credited for introducing Christianity to Ireland. As his mission was two-fold, to minister to both Christians and non-Christians, this acclamation is somewhat exaggerated. That being said, he is rightfully attributed with widely spreading the Gospel across the country, as existing Christians were few. It is why St. Patrick is so integrated with Ireland and its culture.
So, Liberty, this holiday is not about drinking as much green beer as you can and sharing good luck. It’s about consuming and spreading the Gospel whenever and wherever possible. When you see a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, say a thank you to the Triune God for being so loving as to give us evidence everywhere of his existence. Even though we do not have Jesus here to put our fingers in his hands and side, praise Him for giving us such powerful examples of His love. Shamrocks are displayed everywhere on this holiday, and the vast majority of people think it’s just because they are green and Irish. Liberty, God has given us the absolute perfect opportunity to demonstrate Him on this day. When you see one, bless God for the opening to witness and then honor Him by taking it.
That’s my 2 cents.
ST. PATRICK: PATRON SAINT OF BEER?