By Ian Wilson (Rated G)
St. Patrick is one of the most recognized names in Christianity, yet few know his full story. He was born sometime in the fifth century to a wealthy British deacon named Calpurnius, but he did not follow his father’s faith. After a rebellious youth, Patrick was captured by Irish slavers and taken back to Ireland.
While a slave in Ireland, Patrick, having lost everything, turned to God for help and solace. After a few years of serving as a herdsman, Patrick had a dream, in which he saw a ship which was to take him back to Great Britain. At the earliest opportunity, Patrick escaped his masters and ran away to the coast. There, he found the ship which was to be his means of rescue.
After convincing the sailors to allow him to board, Patrick rode back to Britain, where he was reunited with his family. However, God was not yet finished with Patrick. One night, Patrick had a dream in which he was visited by an Irishman carrying a letter from the Irish people begging Patrick to return and minister among them. Despite his doubts over his own ability, Patrick sought ordination as a priest and returned to Ireland as a missionary.
Contrary to popular belief, Patrick did not introduce Christianity to Ireland; there was already a small community there before he arrived, but they were without a shepherd. Patrick served as the leadership they needed to evangelize the rest of the nation. Placing his whole confidence in God, Patrick worked tirelessly among the Irish people, preaching and baptizing kings and peasants alike.
Near the end of his days, Patrick retired to Saul in the County Down, where he eventually went to his eternal reward. His letters, Confessions and Epistle to Corroticus give us a picture of a humble man, intent on doing whatever God asked of him. A man of great faith and firm conviction.
May we, like Patrick, place our full confidence in God and do His will.