One of the important aspects of the Christian life is understanding Christian History and where our faith has gone and come from over the years since Christ walked this earth. “Church history is the story of the Christian community and its relationship to the rest of the world throughout the ages…Church history shows us how the Gospel message can be embedded in culture in our own time.” (Dr. Gordan Isaac) With this, while we don’t hold sainthood to humans as the traditional Roman Catholic Church does, it is important that we know the history of so many that were instrumental in the advancement of Jesus Christ to all nations and tongues.
Patrick was born Maewyn Succat to wealthy parents in Britain near the end of the fourth century. At the age of 16, Patrick was captured by a group of Irish raiders and brought to Ireland to be a slave. During his 6 years of slavery, Patrick worked as a shepherd and turned to his religious upbringing to bring comfort and peace. After 6 years of captivity, Patrick was able to escape, walking nearly 200 miles to the Irish coast, and returning to Britain.
Upon Patrick’s return to Britain he began to study to become a priest, After more than 15 years of study, Patrick was ordained as a priest. Patrick had previously claimed an angel came to him in a dream, telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. The church agreed to return him to Ireland and he returned both to minister to the Christians already living in Ireland, and to convert the Irish people.
Patrick spent his life proclaiming the Gospel to the very people that had enslaved him during his younger years. In this, we can see the power of love and forgiveness that can only come from Jesus. His explanation and simplification of the trinity through the use of a 3 leaf clover is probably one of his most known examples. Each leaf was taught to represent each member of the trinity showing they are 3 separate leaves but part of one central branch.
After 40 years of living in Ireland and working tirelessly to spread the Gospel to the Celts, “Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.” (History.com)
As we see people around the world celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we can celebrate and rejoice in the life of a man that gave up the riches and wealth of his station in life, and returned to the country that enslaved him, to share the love of Christ. Through this, we see the spread of Christianity to the pagan’s of Ireland and how great God’s grace is to use whosoever will follow His command to go and preach the Gospel to all!