Wednesday March 17th - St Patrick

There are many legends as well as written accounts about the life of St Patrick. The accounts are from many years after his death and so legends easily grow up to fill the void. There may even have been two Patricks - the first better known now as Palladius. Patrick was a Britain or Gaul and was captured as a slave and taken to the West coast of Ireland.

Thorough a dream he was told by God that he would escape and a second dream told him when. He is reputed to have helped save his travelling companions on the journey. On arriving home he studied Christianity in more depth. Later he had another dream of Victorious calling him to come back to Ireland and despite having been a slave there and the danger he went to serve the Irish.

Patrick was not the first Christian in Ireland nor even the first missionary; it is unlikely that he drove the snakes out of Ireland either.

For me the thing that impresses me about Patrick is his willingness to go back to what must have been a place of great pain and unhappy memories but because God called him, he was sure it was safe to do so.

He faced further danger in Ireland because he wouldn't accept gifts from the many local kings so as to not compromise his loyalty to God. At that time a gift from a king bestowed their protection on you. Perhaps this explains the great prayer associated with Patrick - his breastplate prayer - here is the first verse.

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

God was his protection. I rather like this icon of Patrick - it is one of very few of him as a young man rather than and aged saint and reminds me that God is with us throughout our lives even though we often become more aware of it as we get older.