“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27
Not much is known about his life and ministry, but the fruits of St. Patrick’s ministry have withstood the tests of time. Living approximately from 385 AD to March 17, 461, St. Patrick left us some of his writings which tell just a bit of his life, but it is the powerful reputation of his ministry which establishes a holy legacy down to the present day.
There are many lives within history that were worthy sacrifices to the establishment and flourishing of God’s kingdom, of whom little or even nothing is known. There has been nothing written or preserved to record in any perpetual way what so many different lives achieved for the glory of God. When you hear their names in heaven you will say at first, “Who is that? I never heard anything about them.” Even the Bible resorts to saying at the end of Hebrews 11, “The world was not worthy of them,” and, “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” We only know a few of these names. We DO know that their names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life; and to a man, woman, or child, this is truly enough for them. God knows their every exploit, their sacrifices, the power of their testimonies, their love, their faith, and He insures their reward. He will never forget, which is all that really counts.
We know St. Patrick had a profound effect on Ireland. He led great numbers to Christ, and baptized many converts. He, under the power of the Holy Spirit, and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, turned Ireland from a pagan land to a Christian faith. One life was very transformative. But I have no doubt that he had notable disciples beside him, assisting, for these things are seldom the work of one completely alone. Those disciple’s names are unknown to us, just as so many, maybe you, will do much for God and His Son, and not acquire great fame. After all, it is not why we do what we do.
St. Patrick wrote a powerful hymn titled St. Patrick’s Breastplate. I imagine it as a description of his life’s testimony, the versification of how he viewed his life.
Quoting only the final verses of his hymn:
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.
I bind unto myself today,
the strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!