Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Irish Saint and a........Clover?

Looking back through the blog today, I found this post originally published on March 18th, 2005.  I though it was good enough to share again!   ~Chs :)

Yesterday, March 17th, was what many people celebrate as Saint Patrick's Day, in fact, it is actually a calenderized holiday. (any holiday that is on the calendar:-) But how many people really know who Saint Patrick was, what he did to earn the title of 'Saint,' or why he is associated with clover. First, a little about his life . . . . .
Patrick was born in Scotland at around 387 A.D. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by a band of Irish pirates who sold him as a slave to a Druid Chief in Ireland. There he lived for the next 6 years, keeping sheep and learning the Irish language and culture. But most important, he received Christ as his savior. He wrote this about his conversion, "I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God and was carried away captive to Ireland, but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes. I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children." He goes on to state that his faith and love of God increased more and more, and he would spend countless hours in prayer as he watched the herd. At last a chance came for him to escape, and he was able to board a ship that heading for his homeland. You can just imagine the joyous reunion with his family! He, for all they knew, had perished many years ago, and now he was returned to them.

Wanting to grow more in the grace and knowledge of his Savior, Patrick studied the Scriptures on his own and with traveling monks that came through the area. He then decided to travel to France and enter the monastery of St. Martin there. For the next 18 years of his life, he devoted himself to the study of Scripture and was constantly sharing his faith with any and all who would listen. There he became a priest, and even rose to the position of Bishop.

Then one night, Patrick received a vision from the Lord, that would change his life and the lives of countless others for eternity. He described the incident thus, "I saw a man who was called 'Victorious' coming as if from Ireland, with innumerable Scrolls, and I read what they said, 'The voice of the Irish,' and while I was reading I heard a voice, 'Please, come and walk with us again.'" Patrick realized that he was being called to be a priest to Ireland, and saw God's providence in the circumstances of his previous kidnapping and slavery that had allowed him to learn the Irish language. He also knew all about the pagan Druid religion that had great power over the people there.

In 431, Patrick left for Ireland, and there he served the Lord for 30 years, enduring stoning, and beatings for Christ's sake and for the love of the souls of the Irish people. You can read much more about his work and ministry to the Irish people in Richard "Little Bear" Wheeler's wonderful book, God's Mighty Hand . But I will close now with a quote from that book that tells the story of how Patrick's name came to be associated with clover.
"The Gospel Spread throughout Ireland with power and might. In time, Ireland became known as the most evangelical nation in the world. Many, throughout the then known world, traveled there to receive Biblical instruction.
One concept the Irish found difficult to understand was the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in one. Once while preaching to a large crowd and trying to explain the reality of the Holy Spirit, a frustrated Patrick bowed his head and prayed in front of the gathered crowd. "Lord, these are Your people . I cannot show them the Trinity. Please help me."
When Patrick opened his eyes, the Holy Spirit directed his attention to a three-leaf clover. Holding up the plucked clover, he said, "Trinity is like this clover; one stem, three leaves," the people's eyes were opened. Having grasped the understanding of that divinely inspired object lesson of the Trinity, they embraced Christianity in droves. Over the years of Patrick's ministry in Ireland, many thousands were baptized and some two hundred churches were established. Truly, God's hand was at work in preparing Ireland for the Gospel."
~Faith Ann 

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