Here are 5 things you may know or should know about Saint Patrick.
The Shamrock and the Trinity
No one knows exactly how the shamrock, which is like a clover, has its three leaves associated with the Trinity. There is some legend that St. Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity as in one shamrock but three leaves but all being together since it is a three-leafed plant. It was said to be a way to explain the Three Persons of the Trinity being all joined but like the three leafs are but they are also distinct from one another. The shamrock is actually the leaves of the clover or trefoil. The word “shamrock” actually comes from the Irish word “seamróg,” meaning “little clover.
The Patron Saint of Ireland
Although St. Patrick wasn’t the first to bring Christianity to Ireland, he was very evangelistic in his desire to win people to Christ. Although he was actually born in Britain he did most of His work for Christ in Ireland and today is considered the Patron Saint of Ireland and for good reason. Today the nation celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, not on the day of his birth but on the day of his death on March 17th, 493 and St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in many places around the world, particularly in America and the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland but in New York in 1762, 14 years before the Declaration of Independence.
The Legend of the Snakes
The idea that St. Patrick help to rid Ireland of snakes is false because Ireland never had any snakes in the first place because it was an isolated island and far enough away by sea for any snakes to swim there, especially in the cold Atlantic. Any snake that ever did make it there by someone else bringing it, wouldn’t have survived long because there were none to mate with to spread the species.
From Prisoner to Priest
St. Patrick was taken prisoner at age 16 and tried for years to escape and when he finally did, he returned to Britain and was trained in biblical scholarship and became a priest. He apparently traveled to France where he studied and entered the priesthood under the guidance of the missionary St. Germain.
St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish
St. Patrick was born in Britain and not in Ireland yet the Irish claim him as one of their own but interestingly, his parents were Roman citizens living in England. By the time St. Patrick was born, there was no distinction in England as being Roman citizens anymore but they were considered Brit’s. Incidentally, there are more Irish living in the U.S. than there are actual Irish living in Ireland.
One thing I loved about St. Patrick was his passionate desire to bring Christianity to as many people that he possibly could. That was his sincere and all-consuming passion after his conversion and I hope that is your passion today to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ for that is what we are called to do.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman[ssba]
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