St. Patrick, the man, not the myth


Sr, Gary, Davis, Clueless, Christian, St PatrickSaint Patrick
 (Latin: Patricius, Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Roman Britain-born Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family.

“He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he worked and no link can be made between Patrick and any [particular] church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick; but the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and other early missionaries had tried to establish. Uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster would imply that he lived from 378 to 493, dying on March 17th, and ministered in modern day northern Ireland from 433 onwards.” (Wikipedia)

Patrick understood people; he understood Ireland. Instead of confronting the native Druid religion, Patrick incorporated their worship of the sun into the Christian faith as worship of the Son. He used their bonfire celebrations as part of the Easter celebrations. He used the ancient Druid symbol of Spring, the Shamrock, to explain the three Persons of the Trinity— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He endeavored to build a community of believers, a parish structure, rather than the pyramid hierarchical structure he had experienced in Rome.

Patrick knew the importance of blending the worship of Jesus Christ with the warp ‘n woof of daily life. He understood people have roots in their culture and communities…, and needed roots that would reach far deeper to the God who made them. So he brought Christ to them in a language and culture that they already knew.

So, when, and if, you reach out to God, try to do so in a way that is fitting with your culture, your language, in your community. You’ll be amazed at how well Jesus understands you already. You’ll still be Irish, or Ghanian, or Jewish…, but different.

Er-in go bragh (look it up.)

Gary

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