March 17

Good morning all! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s scripture:  Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

While we tend to celebrate St. Patrick’s day with green food and beverages and green clothing (no one wants to get pinched!), we forget St. Patrick who left a much more vibrant legacy.  He was well committed to his faith and took on great risk to get there.   He was not born in Ireland but spent his life trying to spread the word in Ireland.  Patrick demonstrated that we have something to talk about when concerning God.

The most popular story about St. Patrick was about how he drove the snakes out of Ireland. There is no evidence of there being an abundance of snakes or that Patrick actually drove them out but it makes for a great story. His life was pretty exciting though.  He was born in Britain in about 387 CE.  At 16, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates who sold him into slavery in Ireland.  This was his first encounter with Ireland.  He spoke of how prayer got him through it all. After 6 years, he escaped. He made his way to France to study to become a priest.  He had realized his call while in slavery. He studied in a monastery in Gaul. This is where he found his name Patrick.
In a dream, Patrick heard the people of Ireland calling out to him to return to spread the word.  This is when he returned to Ireland. Patrick then lived out a life of loving his neighbors, talking about Jesus, and living with the people.  He was known as a loving presence in Ireland who told the story. Legends of Patrick began to take hold and there are so many stories about this man that exemplify who he was.  He was a part of our cloud of witnesses to cheer us on to live life fully and with our neighbors.
So if you are a green wearer- wear it proudly and remember a St. Today is not a bad day to remember other saints in your life and remember how they touched your heart.  Or perhaps may be a day to look up the stories and prayers of St. Patrick and learn from his words.
Here is an excerpt from his most popular prayer (Breastplate Prayer) to pray on today:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

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