St. Patrick and the “Luck” of the Irish Pt. 1

Luck. Who really has it?

Me?  Is it lucky to blog on March 17th?  We could call it luck. Or we could call it final exams next week and a long-term commitment to procrastination.

Lucky St. Patrick? I am not sure he thought so.

How do I know, you may ask? Well, it is an educated guess based on St. Patrick’s autobiography, The Confession. I will provide you with a quick and…uh…”clean” version.

Once upon a time, Patrick (this is before he was sainted, or whatever)  was a rebellious grandson of a priest. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken (forcibly) from his home in Britain and travelled abroad to Ireland, where he pursued a career as a slave (again, involuntarily).

There, he discovered God.

After six years of tending flocks for his master and praying A LOT, he heard a voice in his sleep saying:

“Behold, your ship is ready.”

Patrick had no mode of transportation, no map, and no idea where he was heading, which meant depending upon that voice to guide his walking for two hundred miles. He did all of this only to find out that the boat which he DID find, and which was leaving that very day, would not allow him to board.

If it was me, I probably would have started crying. But Patrick decided to pray and the steersman of the ship changed its mind.

The boat landed on an uninhabited island.  Everyone was starving, and  the steersman and his crew decided to pick on Patrick about his faith. “So Patrick, why can’t your God get us food?”  Patrick told them that they should have faith and then food would be provided. Talk about having guts, and trusting God to put His money where your mouth is! The thing is, they did put their faith in God, and God brought home the bacon.  Literally, pigs came running at them.

Then came the first instance for which Patrick could say,

“I have God as witness who knew all things even before they happened, that, though I was a poor, ignorant waif, still he gave me abundant warnings through divine prophecy.”

Patrick was taken captive AGAIN (!), and was told in a dream that he would be in captivity for two months.  On the 60th day, he was delivered.

Patrick  returned home to his family, only to have a couple of dreams point him back towards Ireland.  This was apparently not enough to convince him to go. Then a close friend decided to dig up some old skeletons and condemn Patrick for what he did before he knew God. That is when Patrick actually decided to pack up and go back to Ireland.

Not everyone was in favour of this decision. In fact, some were downright against it. (I cannot imagine Patrick’s mother was too pleased!) Patrick chose to have God as a guide rather than the elders, expressing his desire to return to

 “the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; that I might hear scandal of my travels, and endure many persecutions to the extent of prison; and so that I might give up my free birthright for the advantage of others, and if I should be worthy, I am ready [to give] even my life without hesitation; and most willingly for His name. And I choose to devote it to him even unto death, if God grant it to me.”

Now Patrick was persecuted. He was plundered, imprisoned, and victim of attempted assassinations. He wrote:

“I testify in truthfulness and gladness of heart before God and his holy angels that I never had any reason, except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from which I had previously escaped with difficulty.”

You think that even the quick and clean version of this story is rather long?

Well, Patrick believed:

“I ought not to conceal God’s gift which he lavished on us in the land of my captivity, for then I sought him resolutely, and I found him there, and he preserved me from all evils (as I believe) through the in-dwelling of his Spirit, which works in me to this day. “

Wow! You actually read this post until the bitter end. That takes perseverance.  I bet you are hoping for a super great conclusion.

You are out of luck.

Perhaps now you understand why I am a skeptic.

Patrick was not a lucky duck. Learn from his lessons here.

Read Patrick’s Confession for yourself here.  

Comments are welcome, as always!

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Does the history of St. Patrick effect you?

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