17 Mar 2015

St Patrick's Day


Like so many Christian feasts, St Patrick’s Day has been somewhat hijacked. St Patrick has about as much to do with a pint of Guinness as St Valentine has to do with a box of chocolates and a romantic meal for two. But what does this saint, so strong in missionary zeal and about whom we know very little, have to do with our modern day celebrations? 

The answer comes from the Confessio itself. In the very opening paragraphs of the autobiography, St Patrick offers a meditation on the gift of faith and the praise that we owe in return to God for such a gift. Perhaps this is St Patrick’s greatest relevance, particularly in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to declarations of faith. He refuses to stay quiet; his evangelising zeal comes from knowing that he must speak to others of Christ:

“That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.”

Enjoy the celebrations of St Patrick’s Day, but remember Christ’s call to conversion in your life; a call to conversion and change that St Patrick felt so strongly that he left behind everything he had and followed Jesus so that he might bring the gospel to others.

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