“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”).
Before we go pinching people for not wearing green, creating construction paper shamrocks and putting green dye into our beverage of choice, it might actually be good to learn who St. Patrick was.
St. Patrick was born about 385 on March 17th in Scotland. His parents were actually Romans living in Britain in charge of some colonies. When he was about 14 (some accounts say 16) he was kidnapped by the Druids, carried off to Ireland and sold as a slave.
While under slavery he kept in prayer. Once he dreamt of walking on to the coast of Ireland and boarding a ship after a prayer session. Leaving on foot from inland Ireland, he headed for the coast where a sea captain allowed him on his boat. While back in England and reunited with his family, he began to study and became a priest. He felt God calling him back to Ireland, a very dangerous call, since he had escaped as a slave.
While serving in Ireland for forty years, he converted many to Christianity. He used the shamrock as a ministry tool for teaching the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). He also encouraged education. During his time, Ireland became literate. He is also accredited with not only evangelizing Ireland, but also Scotland, England and into central Germany.
St. Patrick was known to have a gentle, but persistent spirit. He was very kind and very obedient to his calling. To this day, both Catholics and Protestants hail him as one of the most productive missionaries.
- Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 4th Addition, (Articles by Ralph D. Winter & Paul Pierson)