Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lessons from St. Patrick

Being a true Irish lass, I've been hearing about St. Patrick since my birth. But it wasn't until recent years that I became interested in finding out more about this icon's faith background. Beyond the legend and the holiday, there's a man of tremendous faith and passion.

Somewhere during the 5th century, it is believed that Patrick lived on the west coast of England and was kidnapped in his teens by Irish sailors. Living in Ireland as a slave, he eventually escaped and returned to England. Chosing to answer the call to religious life, he later became a bishop and returned to minister to the Irish people. He was passionate about God and about winning more souls for His kingdom.

Each of us would do well to imitate the life of Patrick. Look at how we might measure up to this Christian who has gone before us:
  • Has the terror of unexpected trial increased your faith or decreased your faith? It made Patrick's rock solid. In his years of slavery, he learned to turn to God with ALL his heart.
  • Has trauma increased your intimacy and prayer life with God? Patrick left writings that suggested he went into captivity with a more-than-lukewarm faith, but grew to a life of prayer-without-ceasing because of what he endured.
  • What do you do once you've been delivered from a dark situation? Do you return to those still in that darkness and act as a guide to lead them out of it? Patrick did. He answered the voices he heard in a dream, calling to him for help.
  • Are you obedient no matter what the cost? Patrick fully expected to be "killed, betrayed, or brought back into slavery, or something of the kind." Nevertheless, his passion for Jesus made him a willing slave for the Lord.
I could continue on with inspiring lessons to be learned from this famous Jesus-lover, but I'll challenge you to further explore this life-worth-examining. And the next time you feel pressed by life's stresses, join me in praying these words from "St Patrick's Breastplate":

"Christ protect me today against every poison, against burning, against drowning, against death-wound, [That You might be glorified.]
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left..."

~ Barb Dittrich 

*References from THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST. PATRICK, by Lesley Whiteside, The Columbia Press, 1996


  1. Thanks Barb,

    Without pain we don't need God. Nobody likes it when we're in it but after we are through it, it's good to look back and remember how we got to where we are now. It's also a good tool to use to minister to others who are going through their season of trials to show them they WILL get through it by the grace of God.

  2. Don't know where you found time or emotional/mental energy to write this but God guided you and I am blessed! Thanks!

  3. Here is even more in depth information on St Patrick from a 2014 post on Voice of the Martyrs Persecution Blog: