Of all the stories and conversation about the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day, not one we’ve seen or heard refers to why there’s really a celebration. Other than it’s potato planting time, and the grass is turning green.
Many are looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Plenty are hoping to pick a lucky shamrock. Several are selecting a green outfit to wear to prevent that teasing pinch. A number are preparing for participation in or watching a parade. Those with musical inclination might be practicing an Irish song. A few are even planning a special cabbage dinner. Plenty have great anticipation for the green beer. But ask anybody why they’re actually celebrating, and only blank looks will likely
be the response.
March 17 is a feast day celebrated in memory of Saint Patrick, a missionary who died on that day over l5 centuries ago. It is a day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.
Although kidnapped as a teenager by slave traders and taken to a foreign land, Patrick made a daring escape and, with the help of God, returned home safe. An Irish voice called to Patrick in a dream pleading that he become a missionary of the gospel.
Not without hardship, the call was answered, and Patrick was successful at winning converts, despite being arrested several times. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries and setting up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity over a period of 30 years.
Of all the folklore surrounding Saint Patrick’s Day, one tradition really did come about when Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. In his sermons, Patrick related that like the shamrock, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of
wearing a shamrock on his feast day.
As prayers are said for missionaries to follow in Saint Patrick’s footsteps, renewal of faith comes by again giving the Lord control over one’s life. Psalm 37:5, “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him: and he shall bring it to pass.”
While Saint Patrick could have patted his own back for his successes in conversions, he remained humble. We too can follow that precedence. 1 Peter 5:5, “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Luke 18:14, “All who humble themselves will be exalted.”
An Irish blessing to everyone: “May you have the foresight to know where you’re
going, and the insight to know when you’re going too far.”