Do you know why you are celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day March 17th and do you know who St. Patrick is or is this just a day to dress green and party. I for one knew of the man St. Patrick but had no clue about who he was and what he stood for. I never celebrated the day unless I was forced to in school other than that March 17th was just another day hoping nobody would notice I had no green on.
When I got married my wife had an ambition to visit Ireland and in 2014 we were able to make that goal happen and we took a tour on the Emerald Island. The traveler that I am had me investigate were we would be touring and since we would be spending three days in Dublin it was a must to visit St. Patrick’s cathedral. We were able to visit the church that was built around 1191, very a inspiring to say the least but I still did not understand who St. Patrick was.
It was not until our Irish tour started that our tour guide started telling the story and then I understood why this man was elevated to Sainthood. Later I started to think and I understood why I would celebrate this man but do people in general really understand why they are celebrating him.
Some history of St. Patrick: Born in 378 AD Maewyn Succat from Roman parents in Roman occupied Brittan. Born of nobility Maewyn changed his name to Patrick after becoming a priest.
At age 15 Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. Patrick was enslaved as a Sheppard for 6 years. Although Patrick was raised in a Christian home his grandfather being a Catholic priest Patrick later said he was not a believer. Prior to being kidnapped he said he was selfish and wanted nothing to do with worshiping God.
During his 6 years of slavery Patrick started to find God, he often practiced fasting to get closer to God. Then Patrick started having dreams of God talking to him. In his 6th year of slavery Patrick said God told him in a dream to escape, at first he thought it was nothing more than a dream but the next night God told him again to escape.
Patrick states he escaped and walked 180 miles to the Irish east coast to find a ship that could take him back home. He states God not only found him a boat but the ship’s captain who for sure had to suspect Patrick was fugitive did not turn him in even though the captain had much to gain to do so.
Even when Patrick’s ship landed in Britain they had to take the cargo in to town by foot. After two days of walking they began to get hungry and scoffed at Patrick saying will not your God find us food. The next day Patrick and the crew ran into wild pigs and food was now available so much so by the time they ran out again they had reach the town.
Patrick was now 21 years of age and instead of staying home where he would have certainly been able to take over the family farm and business decided to go to seminary school to become a pastor.
After becoming a priest Patrick went back to Ireland and started to missionary the same people that bought him into slavery. He converted the pagan druids and Christianized Ireland as we know it.
Now most of us know that St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland and folklore has him driving out all the snakes of Ireland but that is no folklore Patrick did drive out the snakes of Ireland.
In Ireland besides birds of prey there are no predators, no wolfs, bears, cats or snakes so what do I mean by Patrick driving out the snakes of Ireland. The pagan druids worshiped many gods and their symbol of their worshiping was of snakes. When Patrick converted the pagans to Christianity he drove out the snakes.
So why do we celebrate and how do we celebrate St. Patrick, understanding what Patrick did its easy for me an American to see why Ireland, Britain and the Catholic church to want and celebrate the achievements of such a great man but if you are not Catholic, Irish, or of the UK why do you celebrate. Is it out of respect for what Patrick did, he forgave the people of Ireland, the pirates that sold him and offered them a chance through God’s grace to receive salvation.
Do you celebrate St. Patrick because it’s a day to drink green beer maybe get drunk and loaded because a lot of other people are doing it.
First understand what St. Patrick was up against when he returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. Druids were into slavery, human sacrifice, witchcraft, sexuality deviated from the normal and worshipped more than one God pretty much opposite of what St. Patrick and the Gospel stood for. God gave Patrick the ability to learn the language, and then teach and convert the pagans with simple things like teaching the trinity of God by using the three leaf clover.
What I’m getting at is to celebrate a day that remembers a man like Patrick and to celebrate it by doing the opposite of what Saint Patrick stood for is disrespectful.
Today’s St. Patrick day parades are nothing what Patrick could envisioned I suspect. I wonder what Patrick would think of today if he saw some of the parades that are supposed to be honoring his achievements.
I’m not saying one should not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day March 17th if you are not a believer but maybe one might really take the time to know the man and what he stood for to heart.
Maybe have some respect for a man that forgave his captors and gave them a chance to know who the God of the Bible was and the grace that God gives no matter who and what they did.
If you are going to celebrate a man then know who that man is and what he has done. Please do not disrespect St. Patrick by careless disregard of what he stood for. Take the day to remember the man and what God did through him.