Thursday, March 16, 2017

St Patrick: The Rest of the Story

Stories of St Patrick abound to this day regarding getting rid of snakes in Ireland and all kinds of wives tales. But the real story of St. Patrick was even more miraculous. He was born in England. At sixteen, he was captured and carried off as a slave to Ireland. Patrick worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years. He writes that his faith grew in captivity and that he prayed daily. After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home and that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he traveled to a port, two hundred miles away - he says
 - where he found a ship. After various adventures, he returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.
Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home:
"I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: 'The Voice of the Irish'. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: 'We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'"
He writes that he "baptized thousands of people". He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too. Patrick's position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, and affinity. Legally he was without protection. He says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.
Patrick died in AD 461 on March 17. As a result of his obedience to God Ireland became a Christian nation.
We often sing “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me, melt me, mold me, use me.” But do we really mean it. Do we allow God to melt us if it requires that we become humble as a slave? Do we allow Him to mold us to become a different person so that He can use us?
While Patrick was a slave, his faith grew, God melted him and molded him in the crucible of slavery until he was ready to be used.
God is looking for ordinary men and women who are willing to be melted, molded, and used for building His kingdom.
Are you willing?

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