Scripture 1 Corinthians 11:1
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Paul himself asks his fellow Christians to imitate his life. We can also look at the lives of others around us and those who have gone before us for inspiration.
Saint Patrick (415?-493?) is one such person who faced many challenges by committing his life to carrying out Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19-20
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
Legends about Patrick abound; but truth is best served by our seeing two solid qualities in him: He was humble and he was courageous. The determination to accept suffering and success with equal indifference guided the life of God’s instrument for winning most of Ireland for Christ. His great desire was to proclaim the Good News to the Irish – to do mission work in pagan Ireland where the faith had never been preached. He suffered much opposition from pagan druids, and was criticized in both England and Ireland for the way he conducted his mission.
In a relatively short time the island had experienced deeply the Christian spirit, and was prepared to send out missionaries whose efforts were greatly responsible for Christianizing Europe. One of the few certainly authentic writings is his confession, above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate. What distinguishes Patrick is the durability of his efforts. When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labours (all of Ireland) and how the seeds he planted continued to grow and flourish, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been. The holiness of a person is known only by the fruits of his or her work.
“Christ shield me this day:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me”
(from “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”).
Let us pray that like Saint Patrick the missionary who did not spare himself but gave his whole life to the preaching of your Word, we will be fearless witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess and our love bring others to the peace and joy of your Gospel.
Like Christmas and Easter, we can lose sight of the real meaning behind certain anniversary days of remembrance.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!