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St. Patrick, The Man, The Myth, The Legend

St. Patrick's Day has become a holiday widely celebrated in America. There are parades and parties, Chicago dyes the river green, people will wear green, dress as leprechauns, or wear shirts and pins that say "Kiss me I'm Irish." For this one day everyone is Irish. Who was the real St. Patrick?

This can be a hard question to answer. There is so much myth, legend, and tradition that the true person can be missed. When we start to remove these things we see a man that God used to reach a nation with the Gospel.

The basics of his story is that he was born in Scotland. Stories vary, some say his father was a person of high status within the local church and very devout, others say his father used his status within the church for his own greedy gain. What is agreed upon is that young Patrick was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland to serve as a slave. While a slave he began to pray to God for deliverance. Eventually he was able to escape and make his way back to Scotland. Once there he began to study the Bible, pray, and grow in his relationship with God. As he continued to grow closer to God he began to have a burden for the people of Ireland. The people who had enslaved him. He saw their need for the salvation that only Christ could bring. He eventually returned to Ireland and preached the Gospel to the people, both rich and poor. The nation as a whole turned to Christ.

As we celebrate today, there is nothing wrong with wearing green, dressing as a leprechaun, or wearing a shirt or pin that says, "Kiss me I'm Irish." However, I think it is important to celebrate God and His working in a man's life. He used Patrick because he submitted himself to Him. He was able to work in him and through him to reach the people of Ireland. As we celebrate God, we should also take time to ask for His help in being submitted to Him as Patrick was. We ought to allow God to work in us and through us to reach the people around us with the Gospel. Who knows, perhaps God would use you or I to reach our nation, or even Ireland again, or many other nations of the world.

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