According to pious legend, St. Patrick was born to Christian parents at the end of the fourth century in Roman Britain. Though his parents were Christian, he did not share their faith. When he was fifteen years old, Irish slave traders abducted him and took him to Ireland. During his six years of slavery, he committed his life to Christ and developed a deep love for his pagan captors. He escaped Ireland and fled back to his home. However, on his journey he was taken captive to France for a brief period. While in France he learned about Christian monasticism and received a vision to take the Christian faith back to Ireland. This he eventually did, as a missionary bishop, planting small Christian missionary communities all over Ireland which became the genesis of Christian Ireland.
Patrick is a hero to the Irish and a symbol of self-sacrificing missionary love. He serves as a Christ-like example to us all, an example that we can emulate and reach out even to those who may have been our enemies with God’s love and forgiveness. This kind of self-sacrifice reaches hearts and transforms lives.
On this St. Patrick’s Day, who might we connect with the love of Christ? How can we, like Jesus, himself, lay down our lives so others may see and know the grace of God which can grasp them the way it did a young Patrick in Ireland so long ago?