How Patrick the Missionary Might Celebrate His Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Ever wonder how Patrick himself might celebrate the day? Like many (or most) holidays, this day has become something very different from its original intent. Holiday celebrations tend to say more about the culture celebrating than the person or event celebrated.

At any rate, Patrick is a man whose reality has become shrouded in myth and legend. He was a British missionary to Ireland who spent most of his life preaching the Gospel there. Interestingly, he is not actually a Catholic saint – having never been officially canonized by a Pope. If you’re interested in knowing more about Patrick, you can read his autobiographical Confessions at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

It is there Patrick recounts how the Lord changed his heart in preparation for his mission to take the Gospel to the Irish:

“On the other hand, I did not proceed to Ireland of my own accord until I was almost giving up, but through this I was corrected by the Lord, and he prepared me so that today I should be what was once far from me, in order that I should have the care of—or rather, I should be concerned for—the salvation of others, when at that time, still, I was only concerned for myself.

Perhaps that gives some insight into how Patrick would spend the day – sharing the love and grace of God with others. Not a bad plan for the rest of us!

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4 thoughts on “How Patrick the Missionary Might Celebrate His Day

  1. If only Christians knew their own history! For many Evangelicals unfortunately, church history starts with Christ and the apostles, and then doesn’t reappear until the 15th or 16th century. It is as if Christ’s church disappears for well over 1,000 years. Sure, you may have some occasional lip service to the 3 A’s (Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas), but for the most part, the average Evangelical is woefully ignorant of his Christian heritage. And then we wonder why Christians lack a cultural and historical identity today…

    • I observe similar “historic isolationism” as well. Do you believe this is a result of an individualistic tendency in American evangelicalism? does it perhaps contribute to it? or perhaps some of both?

      • I certainly think that individualism is part of it, but I also believe it is an anti-“high church” bias. In certain churches there is such a an attempt to “not be Catholic” that the only thing Protestants learn about Christianity before the Reformation is the abuses of late medieval Romanism. Virtually every Christian I’ve talked with when teaching knows very little about the Great (East-West) schism, and thinks the Roman church of 700 is the same as the church in 1400. This leads some to argue that the “true” church has been forgotten by history, and that there is a gigantic conspiracy to hide it. It shocks many that even Calvin admired Popes such as Gregory the Great.

  2. Reblogged this on Nephos and commented:

    Recent events have conspired to prevent any blogging this week. So I thought in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’d share a “post from the past.”

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