Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God's instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ.
Details of his life are uncertain. Current research places his dates of birth and death a little later than earlier accounts. Patrick may have been born in Dunbarton, Scotland, Cumberland, England, or in northern Wales. He called himself both a Roman and a Briton. At 16, he and a large number of his father's slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold.
After six years, Patrick escaped, probably to France, and later returned to Britain at the age of 22. His captivity had meant spiritual conversion. He may have studied at Lerins, off the French coast; he spent years at Auxerre, France, and was consecrated bishop at the age of 43. His great desire was to proclaim the Good News to the Irish.
In a dream vision it seemed "all the children of Ireland from their mothers' wombs were stretching out their hands" to him. He understood the vision to be a call to do mission work in pagan Ireland. Despite opposition from those who felt his education had been defective, he was sent to carry out the task. He went to the west and north, where the faith had never been preached, obtained the protection of local kings and made numerous converts.
Because of the island's pagan background, Patrick was emphatic in encouraging widows to remain chaste and young women to consecrate their virginity to Christ. He ordained many priests, divided the country into dioceses, held Church councils, founded several monasteries and continually urged his people to greater holiness in Christ.
He suffered much opposition from pagan druids and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission.
In a relatively short time, the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe.
Patrick was a man of action, with little inclination toward learning. He had a rocklike belief in his vocation, in the cause he had espoused.
One of the few certainly authentic writings is his Confessio, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.
There is hope rather than irony in the fact that his burial place is said to be in County Down in Northern Ireland, long the scene of strife and violence.
What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labors (all of Ireland) and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.
"Christ shield me this day: Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me" (from "The Breastplate of St. Patrick").
Patron Saint of:
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God's dwelling-place.
Your death on the cross has set me free.
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
The Word of God
Begin to talk to Jesus about the piece of scripture you have just read. What part of it strikes a chord in you? Perhaps the words of a friend - or some story you have heard recently - will slowly rise to the surface of your consciousness. If so, does the story throw light on what the scripture passage may be trying to say to you?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
Saint Patrick, Bishop
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
Why does a girl imitate her mother? The mother certainly hopes that it comes from a natural desire to be like her. But what if the girl were just doing it because she was frightened of her mother or because she wanted to get something from her?
We could misread today's Gospel as a call to be something like this misguided child. We should be merciful, forgiving, and generous with other people so that God will then be merciful, forgiving, and generous with us. Of course, the reverse is never far from our minds either: if we are not all of these things, God will refuse to act that way with us. So it's in our best interests to be good.
But to read the passage this way is to overlook an important verse: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Jesus isn't just giving us a set of rules for how we have to relate to other people. And he certainly isn't trying to extort kindness out of us with the threat of hell if we fail. He is telling us about himself. He is telling us how God relates to us so that we will know how we are meant to relate to the people around us. Our Father is merciful, slow to anger, forgiving, and generous. And since that is his nature, that's what we will grow up to become as we mature in Christ. It's in our spiritual DNA, so to speak!
If we reduce these verses to a list of things that we need to do to keep God happy and stay out of trouble, we miss out on the joy of becoming more like our Father. We miss out, in fact, on the very thing we were created for.
Always keep this in mind: you are not here to follow rules! God doesn't want robots. He wants children. That means that you are here to do the things that Jesus did—both the miraculous and the everyday. As you learn how to show mercy just as Jesus showed mercy, you will be doing something that is both miraculous and everyday. And the witness of your mercy, generosity, and charity will grab people's attention and turn them to the Lord.
"Father, mark me as your child by making me look more and more like you."
Daniel 9:4-10; Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13
I find myself living on God's mercy. He desires mercy. I have to be merciful. From the days of old (old testament), we sought God's mercy. Why? Because we keep falling. I'm going to write a song, a song asking the Lord not to let me be an idiot. Because like a dodo bird I keep falling into the same sins, again and again. Yet, I keep asking for help and forgiveness. I find myself living off of God's mercy. Seek mercy and be mercy. This weekend I invited 2 families to join us on spring break, just a weekend getaway, but off we went. Where we went it rained and poured, and the campsite got muddy. Guess who's car and camper is all muddy? Yours truly. As I scrubbed the mud and swept away, I was getting a tendency to get mad at everyone for not "caring" and stomping the stuff everywhere. "I desire mercy, not sacrifice" came the words from Heaven. I found myself lost in thoughts, "that's right, it is not their fault; is it their fault God sent blessings from Heaven in the form of rain? Or is it their fault for saying yes to the invitation to join us? Is it my fault they were enjoying the rain and having to tread through rain to the showers at camp?" LOL, suddenly having mercy on them makes all the difference. The same happens to all those who throw mud in your face daily. Right before the Gospel in Luke 6:27, our Lord says ""But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." Pray for those who ruin your day and interrupt your plans, because in the end, it is as if our Lord is working through them for you. You want patience? Here comes trouble! You want wisdom? Here come the tests! You want humility? Here comes the pride. Lord, I don't want to be an idiot. An idiot just don't seem to learn. Until I can stop sinning, I find myself living on our Lord's mercy and forgiveness, and generous love. What happens then? The more I depend on that mercy and forgiveness, the more I partake of it, the more I am learning to give of it. Ahh, so who wants some mercy and forgiveness now? Come partake of it! Through reconciliation? Yes. Through being merciful towards others? Yes. Through the body of Christ? Yes. The more you need of forgiveness, the further away some of us seem to pull from God our King. Yet, that is the pull of darkness. That is why we need each other. We don't need each other's insults, we need the praise. Don't we just love being loved? I know I do. Don't you love when you are forgiven? I know I do. Lent is teaching us that, if you give something up, something different happens, because in the end, it is all about giving, now how about giving to God those atrocious sins? I know they seem good, I know you really like to be a part of it, but what you don't know is how it hurts others. For instance, there is this small group of people I am sacrificing for, offering my lenten sacrifice for: This weekend, I practically had to beg this bro to go to a dine in movie with his family and our family, he had had a few beers and wanted to rather stay alone at the campsite and "make sure nobody took nothing from us". I said "now come on, I didn't you drive you 300 miles to be left alone and not partake of this new experience". It took alot of convincing and I lured him in "...they sell beers there too". So he went. He and his family really enjoyed the experience and were grateful. The next day we went to the mall, and once again he didn't want to join while we were there, wanted to go have some beers, and off he went...alone. You start to see the pattern? At the site, he went fishing alone, and when all went over there to the shore, he came back...alone. Now, imagine, the beer is our sin. Sin keeps us from our loved ones and being able to love them more fully. It is very true for the family of God. Sin keeps you away, don't it? Sometimes you'll have a scoundrel like me that still dares to go to church, but I go sorrowful, and feeling well...like an idiot, like I don't deserve but I have tasted His goodness and I live off His mercy. If you don't get what's going on, there is a real fight for our souls going on. But, for those that live for Christ, He is the victor, His is the power. My job on earth is to help you see, see the Lord. My job will not be finished until it happens. I want you to see God's mercy when I am merciful with you...because I have partaken of His mercy too. I want you to be fed with His body, because I have been fed too. I want to share this world with you, just like I share all these experiences of God's wonders and love. How come I have something to share every day? Because I am in communion with God all day, thinking of Him, speaking with Him, praying with Him, and asking Him to give me...forgiveness. I want you to do this more than myself. I want you to be what I can not be, because I believe in you. If you get close to me, you will be affected by this...I believe in you. I believe you deserve His mercy, I believe you want to experience the tremendous powers of Heaven for yourself. The trumpets will blast in Heaven, the day we repent, and are welcomed into His family for an eternity...
Welcome Home my child
Image From Food For The Poor
Subscribe to the Going4th mailing list.