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The Hope of St Patrick's Day

Living Tree Company - Jo Marie
The Hope of St. Patrick's Day

Most of us are familiar with the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day. We wear green, we drink green drinks, and we even dye the Chicago River green. It’s no secret that it’s a time that is commonly celebrated. Yet what does seem to be a secret is the meaning behind the holiday. Who was St. Patrick and what can we learn from his story? Let’s take a dive into the true story behind St. Patrick’s Day and uncover some inspiring truths that you can apply to your life right now. 


Contrary to popular belief, St. Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. He was born in Great Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. Tragically, at the age of 16, his family’s estate was attacked by a group of Irish raiders and Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. He was sold into slavery and spent six years as a slave shepherding outdoors and away from others. 


Through this traumatic experience, Patrick turned to religion for solace and became a devout Christian. He felt that his enslavement was a test of his faith in God. According to his writings, it was then that Patrick began to have visions and dreams sent from God. Eventually, he had a dream where God told him that it was time to leave Ireland. So, he did. He escaped his captors and walked to the Irish coast to escape to Britain. 


On the coast, he was able to convince some sailors to let him board their ship and take him with them to France. It was from there that he wandered, lost, for 28 days across 200 miles, but ended up reuniting with his family in the end. 


However, after his escape, he had another dream of an angel telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. From that point on, Patrick began training to return to Ireland and convert people to Christianity. He was a master at teaching the people Christianity in a way that was relevant and effective to their culture and understanding of religion. 


Although he was never truly canonized by the Catholic Church, he is still known as the patron saint of Ireland in respect of all that he did for the Irish people. He truly devoted himself to reaching the people of Ireland, despite it being the setting for his captivity during his younger years. 


There are many inspiring lessons that we can learn from the story of St. Patrick. Firstly, we can learn the value and power of true forgiveness. Patrick could have very well decided not to return to Ireland to serve the Irish because it was Irish men who had kidnapped him in the first place. If he had held that grudge and resisted God’s call, the amazing work that he did in Ireland would have never been done. 


Likewise, when we hold on to bitterness and refuse to forgive in our lives, we can be a barrier to God's working. If we are so set against a certain person or group of people, we may prevent God from blessing us or them through a restored relationship. Instead, we are called to overcome the past with confidence and move forward, knowing that God has used it all for our good. 


We can also learn the power of hope from the story of St. Patrick. Surely, during those six years in captivity, Patrick had felt like giving up hope. However, he held onto hope through his relationship with God and saw light at the end of the tunnel when he reminded himself of who God is. 


I think that we can agree that we all need a bit more hope in our lives. Yet what we often forget is that we have all the hope that we need through our relationship with Jesus. It is from Him that we can draw hope to get us through even the most difficult times. 


Finally, we can learn the truth about time. It is never too late to find your purpose. The right things happen on God’s timetable, not on ours. St. Patrick would have certainly felt like his life was over in those years of captivity. However, many years later, God gave him his true purpose and worked through him in ways that he couldn’t have even imagined. 


So today, take heart and find hope in the story of St. Patrick and never forget the final words of his beautiful breastplate prayer: “I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of Christ. May your salvation, Oh Lord, be ever with us.” 


The true message from St Patrick is find your strength and hope in Jesus and His salvation and you will never be let down nor find yourself alone. Whatever path of faith you walk, we can all take away the lessons of St Patrick.  God bless and Happy St Patrick's Day!


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