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It’s St. Patrick’s Day…and luck has nothing to do with it! The Story of St Patrick of Ireland

It’s St. Patrick’s Day…and luck has nothing to do with it! The Story of St Patrick of Ireland

Dwight L. Moody was once told, “The world has yet to see what God can do with…and through and … by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.”  While this admonishment was certainly inspirational and motivational, was it really true?

Had mankind really been waiting over 6,000 years, “yet to see” God do such an amazing work? What of Paul?  What of Augustine, Calvin, or Tyndale? In truth, in almost every generation there have been men and women who have laid down their lives to serve the Lord, some of whom have paid the ultimate price.  And God has providentially used each of them to change the world.

Today, we celebrate one such dedicated and consecrated man, St. Patrick. While modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations focus on green beer, leprechauns, four leaf clovers and corned beef, the real purpose of the holiday is to honor a man whose self-sacrificing life of intense faith led to the evangelization and transformation of the Irish culture.

Abducted from his homeland in Britain at just sixteen, Patrick had been taken to Ireland as a slave.  After six long years of cruel slavery, he had a vision of a ship and heard the voice of God calling him to escape.  “Come and see, for your ship is ready for you.  Go now; it is time!”  And so, even though an escaped slave faced death if caught, Patrick began his journey home.  After walking two hundred miles, Patrick arrived at the shore and saw the exact ship that had been in his vision.  If he had any doubts that God’s hand and voice had been guiding him, he entertained them no longer.

Initially, the captain refused to take him onboard, having no use for him, or his God.  Nonetheless, Patrick knew that God wanted him on this ship, so he knelt in prayer, waiting on God to providentially grant him passage.  Amazingly, despite his disdain and earlier refusal, the captain suddenly and inexplicably allowed him to travel, returning Patrick to his homeland.

Though Patrick’s homecoming was filled with joy, he never truly felt AT home. Diligently, he sought the Lord until one night he again had a vision and heard the voice of the Lord.  He saw people from Ireland calling him, “We beseech thee, holy youth, to return and walk among us again.” In obedience, Patrick returned to the land of his enemies to preach the gospel and set them free.

Here the power of God, working through this wholly consecrated and dedicated man, began to truly shine.  Merely hearing of Patrick’s return, the evil chieftain of Ireland, Miliucc, committed suicide.  He could not bear to be converted, fearing this former slave and his God so much that he would rather die than face him!  After discovering that Miliucc had died, Patrick turned to Tara, where Loiguire, the Irish high king, and his druids reigned.

Providentially, Patrick arrived shortly before the pagan Easter festival.  During this festival, the high king would light a bonfire and declare that light had returned to the earth at HIS command.  No one other than the high king could light the first Easter bonfire. Seizing the opportunity to give glory to God alone, Patrick built a huge bonfire and lit it, singing praises to God.  From a distant hillside, the pagan king saw it.  His druid priests trembled, quoting an ancient Druidic prophecy, “If the fire is not put out this very night, it will spread throughout the land and our traditions will be destroyed by the man who lit it and his coming kingdom.”

Loiguire rushed to confront Patrick and extinguish the fire of God and His kingdom.  He sent Lochru, the highest druid, to confront Patrick, insulting him, and slandering his God.  Though Patrick was willing to endure personal insult, he would not tolerate Lochru’s blasphemy and prayed, “O Lord, You can do all things. You have sent me here to spread Your Word. May this evil man who blasphemes You and Your Holy Name be picked up and die through Your power!”  Suddenly, Lochru was catapulted through the air and landed on the ground some distance away, dead. In rage, Loiguire called for Patrick’s death, but the earth began to shake and his soldiers panicked, until all of them, including Loiguire, knelt on the ground in terror.  Although Loiguire never became a Christian, his opposition to Patrick and his work died down in light of his fear of the true God.  Some of his children and his soldiers became Christians and the evangelization of Ireland began in earnest.

After serving in Ireland for twenty-six years, Patrick died on March 17th.  The land he knew at his death differed greatly from the country he first encountered as a slave. He was the first known person to speak out against slavery and eventually succeeded in abolishing it in Ireland entirely. Human sacrifice was also abolished and Christianity was firmly established with 300 churches and over 120,000 converts.

Providentially, the words of the ancient druidic prophecy rang true.  The Easter bonfire was not put out and the light of God spread throughout the land, destroying the pagan traditions and ushering in the kingdom of Patrick’s God.  And the world was once again given a glimpse of what God triumphantly does, over and over again, through those who are fully and wholly consecrated to Him.

 

Source material: St. Patrick, Sower of Light in Ireland, Jennaya Dunlap