Neither Irish nor Catholic, nor extremely fond of the color green and certainly not a snake lover, I find myself asking: Who gives a rip about St. Patrick’s Day? I was never fond of the idea of being pinched for not wearing the proper color, though I was always up for a good, fun holiday celebration. Corned beef, shamrocks and green beer aside, it is my faith life that makes me long to unfold the real account behind all of the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Let’s get to the bottom of how St. Patrick relied on his faith during times of suffering.
His Real Life Is Nothing to Turn Green with Envy Over
Modern day headlines are filled with heartbreaking stories that happen to good people every day. In the days of St. Patrick, he called many of these horrifying headlines day-to-day life. He knew first-hand how God carries us through tough times.
While many may only know stories of how St. Patrick used the three leaves of the clover to explain the trinity to the king, or about the folklore of driving out all of the snakes from Ireland, his story actually follows many close parallels to the account of Joseph, sold into slavery and exalted to power.
St. Patrick was born the child of a prosperous and religious man in Europe in the year 385. He died in 461 on March 17, now known as St. Patrick’s Day. In the course of these 76 years on earth, he changed a nation, and it started with the suffering he would endure as a teen.
Patrick was abducted and forced into slave work in Ireland at the age of 16. He eventually escaped and made his way back to his homeland safely. However, a dream changed his life forever. It was in this dream where he claimed God sent him back to the land of Ireland, where he had suffered as a slave, only this time he was to be a missionary.
From slave to missionary, his faith drew him back to share the Good News of Christ, despite suffering. In his own words, he expressed to others the faith that kept him going forward for the sake of the Gospel. Some of his most famous quotes parallel Scriptures about staying faithful a midst suffering:
“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. —Psalms 23:4
“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach thee peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.”
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness… For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.”
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. —James 1:12
“If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me.”
Rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produced endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us. —Romans 5:3-5
How does knowing that St. Patrick’s Day is about far more than a shallow day filled with parties change the way you will celebrate? Or, does it make no difference to you? Tell me your thoughts, below.