Top 15 Things You Should Remember: St. Patrick’s Day Pt. 2

Most people are likely learning (or re-learning) the effects of drinking too much green beer. That is not quite the lesson that St. Patrick had in mind when he wrote The Confession. If you do not already know the real story of St. Patrick, you can check out my telling of it  here.

Top 15 Lessons We Can Learn from St. Patrick:

15. Quit playing the blame game and take responsibility

Patrick could have whimpered and wallowed in what happened to him, but instead, he manned up and owned up, writing, “the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.” He confessed how he deserved all of the turmoil he had experienced. Later, he complains that God has given him too much good, writing, “I was not worthy that he should grant me this, while I know most certainly that poverty and failure suit me better than wealth and delight (but Christ the Lord was poor for our sakes; I certainly am wretched and unfortunate; even if I wanted wealth I have no resources, nor is it my own estimation of myself, for daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises. But I fear nothing, because of the promises of Heaven; for I have cast myself into the hands of Almighty God, who reigns everywhere. As the prophet says: Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.'”

14. Stop wasting time, start understanding the Bible now.

Patrick ashamedly writes, “now I am presuming to try to grasp in my old age what I did not gain in my youth because my sins prevented me from making what I had read my own.”

13. Give credit to God for what he has done in our lives

“And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.”

12. Fear not, be bold, invest in the future

“One should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear, in order to leave behind, after my death, foundations for my brethren and sons whom I baptized in the Lord in so many thousands.”

11. Let God change hearts (including our own)

“And I was not worthy, nor was I such that the Lord should grant his humble servant this, that after hardships and such great trials, after captivity, after many years, he should give me so much favour in these people, a thing which in the time of my youth I neither hoped for nor imagined.”

10. Pray, fast, and listen

“But after I reached Ireland I used to pasture the flock each day and I used to pray many times a day. More and more did the love of God, and my fear of him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time. And it was there of course that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me: You do well to fast: soon you will depart for your home country.’ And again, a very short time later, there was a voice prophesying: Behold, your ship is ready.’ And it was not close by, but, as it happened, two hundred miles away, where I had never been nor knew any person. And shortly thereafter I turned about and fled from the man with whom I had been for six years, and I came, by the power of God who directed my route to advantage (and I was afraid of nothing), until I reached that ship.”

9.Be an out-of-the-closet Christian: Have faith for others to be saved

After landing in unknown territory, they were starving, when the steersman asked, “‘Why is it, Christian? You say your God is great and all-powerful; then why can you not pray for us? For we may perish of hunger; it is unlikely indeed that we shall ever see another human being.’ In fact, I said to them, confidently: Be converted by faith with all your heart to my Lord God, because nothing is impossible for him, so that today he will send food for you on your road, until you be sated, because everywhere he abounds.’ And with God’s help this came to pass; and behold, a herd of swine appeared on the road before our eyes, and they slew many of them, and remained there for two nights, and the men were full of their meat and well restored.”

8.Expect to be attacked and trust that Jesus always wins over evil

” The very same night while I was sleeping Satan attacked me violently, as I will remember as long as I shall be in this body; and there fell on top of me as it were, a huge rock, and not one of my members had any force. I saw the sun rising in the sky, and while I was crying out …with all my might, lo, the brilliance of that sun fell upon me and immediately shook me free of all the weight; and I believe that I was aided by Christ my Lord, and that his Spirit then was crying out for me.”

7.Remember: You have to be good It is not about how good we are!

After some elders brought to light faults of Patrick’s youth from before he believed in Jesus, Patrick decided to return to Ireland. He writes, “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. Therefore, on that day when I was rebuked, as I have just mentioned, I saw in a vision of the night…and I heard a divine prophecy, saying to me: We have seen with displeasure the face of the chosen one divested of [his good] name.’ And he did not say You have seen with displeasure’, but We have seen with displeasure’ (as if He included Himself) . He said then: He who touches you, touches the apple of my eye.'”

6.Be a thankful sacrifice

“Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently offer my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that … I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever, and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives.”

5. Confess and keep the Faith, baby

“And I know in part why I did not lead a perfect life like other believers, but I confess to my Lord and do not blush in his sight, because I am not lying; from the time when I came to know him in my youth, the love of God and fear of him increased in me, and right up until now, by God’s favour, I have kept the faith.”

4. Be Persecuted

“What is more, let anyone laugh and taunt if he so wishes. I am not keeping silent, nor am I hiding the signs and wonders that were shown to me by the Lord many years before they happened, [he] who knew everything, even before the beginning of time.”

3. Do it ALL for Christ

“Behold, I call on God as my witness upon my soul that I am not lying; nor would I write to you for it to be an occasion for flattery or selfishness, nor hoping for honour from any one of you. Sufficient is the honour which is not yet seen, but in which the heart has confidence. He who made the promise is faithful; he never lies.”

2. Desire to be Martyred: To Die and Live

“And if at any time I managed anything of good for the sake of my God whom I love, I beg of him that he grant it to me to shed my blood for his name with proselytes and captives, even should I be left unburied, or even were my wretched body to be torn limb from limb by dogs or savage beasts, or were it to be devoured by the birds of the air, I think, most surely, were this to have happened to me, I had saved both my soul and my body. For beyond any doubt on that day we shall rise again in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer, as children of the living God and co-heirs of Christ, made in his image; for we shall reign through him and for him and in him.”

1. Remain humble

Even after all that Patrick had done, he writes ” I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” He admonishes, “Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things?” Finally, he writes, “But I entreat those who believe in and fear God, whoever deigns to examine or receive this document composed by the obviously unlearned sinner Patrick in Ireland, that nobody shall ever ascribe to my ignorance any trivial thing that I achieved or may have expounded that was pleasing to God, but accept and truly believe that it would have been the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die. ”

Your turn…

What will you remember from St. Patrick’s Day?

(Please leave comments below!)

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