Thank you Vera, for sharing the St. Patrick icon!
St. Patrick is so beloved and well-known, that I’m posting this today… for both calendars (March 17/March 30).
St. Patrick led an amazing life. Born in Scotland around the year 385 AD, he was the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest. Patrick wasn’t particularly religious during his youth, but he lived a quiet life.
That all changed at the age of sixteen, when he was kidnapped by pirates raiding the British coast. Taken to Ireland and sold as a slave, Patrick spent the next six years as a herder on an isolated mountain.
Labouring in solitude, he remembered the faith of his youth, and turned to prayer, finding solace in God. Patrick had a vision revealing he would soon be free and that a ship would be waiting for him. An opportunity arose for his escape, and he fled… traveling many days on foot, until he reached the coast to find the ship from his vision, preparing to sail to Gaul (France).
St. Patrick studied for several years in a monastery under the holy Bishop Germanus. He was ordained a priest and eventually consecrated a bishop. St. Patrick had another vision, that the people in the land of his captors were calling him back to Eire. St. Patrick understood that this was to be his mission… he was to return to Ireland and help establish the Church there. He was one of several missionaries who arrived in Ireland around 432 AD.
When asked to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity in a simple manner, St. Patrick used a tiny shamrock (a low growing plant of the clover family) with its three lobed leaves on a single stem, to demonstrate how God the Father- God the Son- and God the Holy Spirit are the Holy Trinity; Three in One, One in Three… Undivided.
Once, during his travels, he destroyed an idol where human sacrifices would occur. This idol sat on a large rock. When the saint struck the idol with his crozier (bishop staff), the idol crumbled to dust, and the imprint of the crozier remained upon the rock.
As a bishop he faced many struggles and dangers, including hostility from those loyal to the pagan gods. With God’s help, St. Patrick worked through these obstacles while guiding his flock, and baptising new converts. St. Patrick prayed tirelessly, and continued his work of establishing churches and monasteries. It is said he chanted the entire Psalter every day.
His writings include several works of prayers, and letters. One of these prayers is well known as the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick… A prayer for protection.
During a perilous journey to share the Christian faith in King Loegaire’s territory, the saint discovered they were in mortal danger of an ambush. He prayed the Lorica Prayer, and to those lying in ambush, the saint and his company of monks appeared to them as if they were wild deer, and not humans. Because of this miracle, the Lorica Prayer is also known as The Deer’s Cry.
The early fifth century Enlightenment of Ireland by St. Patrick and his brethren, has been called the most successful single missionary venture in the history of the church.
This post is collected from various sources over the years… and are but a smidgeon of the countless, wondrous, and miraculous events, regarding the life of St. Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland.
Today we also celebrate the 7th century British St. Owen of Lichfield.