Happy St. Patrick’s Day

st.-Patricks-DayChrist beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”

Saint Patrick

 The History Channel reports that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He died on March 17, around 460 A.D. His father was a Christian deacon who likely took on the role for tax incentives.
At age 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. While still a captive, he worked as a shepherd in isolation.  Lonely and afraid, he turned to Christianity for solace then began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity.

After six years, Patrick heard the voice of God speak to him in a dream and tell him to leave Ireland.   He escaped from captivity and walked 200 miles to the Irish coast.

Once safe in Britain, Patrick reported that an angel in a dream told him to return to Ireland as a missionary.  Patrick began religious studies that continued for over 15 years. As an ordained priest, he returned to Ireland to minister to Irish Christians and convert others.

Familiar with Irish language and culture, Patrick incorporated traditional rituals into his teachings.  For example, instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter in the same way the Irish honored their gods with fire. He also superimposed the Irish symbol of the sun onto the Christian cross.  This became known as the Celtic cross.  When Patrick first arrived, there were only a few Christians on the island and most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion.  Given their rich tradition of oral legend and myth, the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries.  His banishing all the snakes from Ireland is a fanciful myth, but entertaining and memorable.

“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
Saint Patrick

Enjoy a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Elizabeth RoseOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA