Monday, March 16, 2015

Oh, to Be Near Him and Like Him

For many years, I’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green; yet, I’ve known little about him. To remedy that, I searched the web for information about him.

According to information found on, Saint Patrick was a 5th-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

He was born, not in Ireland, but in Britain to a Romanized family. At age 16, he was torn by Irish raiders from the villa of his father and carried into slavery in Ireland. During the six bleak years he spent as a herdsman, he turned with fervor to his faith.

After hearing in a dream that the ship on which he was to escape was ready, he ran away from his master and returned to Britain. However, before he was finally reunited with his family, he nearly starved and was confined for a brief time.

Sometime later, after reading a letter delivered to him, he sensed “a certain company of Irish beseeching him to walk once more among them.” 

Although he was deeply moved by their appeal, he, for a long time, hesitated to respond to the call, due to the shortcomings of his education.

But once he did return to Ireland, he became completely confident in the Lord, journeying far and wide, baptizing and confirming with untiring zeal.

At least on one occasion, he, like the Apostle Paul, was placed in chains. Like Paul, he remained humble and constantly thanked God for having chosen him to help multitudes turn from a life of sin to a life of holiness and faith in God.

Many legends surround Saint Patrick, including the legend of the shamrock (or three-leaf clover), which he used to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity (three persons in one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, blessed Three in One).

Much can be learned about Saint Patrick by reading the words that were on his breastplate, words near and dear to his physical heart as well as his spiritual heart: 
Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.

Dear Reader, may you and I desire, as Saint Patrick did, for Christ to be that close to us, to be keenly aware of His presence, and, thereby, to be enabled to live in such a way that everyone who sees us and hears us, senses Him.

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