By the looks of things you might get the impression that St. Patrick’s Day is all about being Irish and drinking green beer, and even though this is how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the U.S and the U.K., St. Patrick’s day represents something with a much deeper meaning. I’ve been wearing green on March 17th since I was a little girl, but I’ve only just recently learned the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.
I’m not Irish, and I’m not catholic, but I am moved by the true story of St. Patrick, because it is one of great perseverance and faith, and it is an inspiring example of how rewarding it can be to make a difference in the lives of others.
In short, St. Patrick, whose real name was Maewyn Succat, was not Irish, but English. He was born to a wealthy Christian family, and as an early teen, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to become a slave. His name was changed to Patrick. As a slave in Ireland, he witnessed the pagan practices of the Irish, but remained true to his Christian faith, and it is said that he prayed up to a 100 times a day.
One day Maewyn escaped and took the long journey back to his home in England. After many years, he developed a deep desire to return to Ireland as a missionary. He taught the people about God and advised them not trust in pagan superstitions. He used the three leafed clover, the shamrock, to explain the Trinity,” Three in One”, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland, and after 30 years of evangelism, he died on March 17, 461 AD. After his death he became known as St. Patrick and March 17th has been named a holiday in honor of him.
So it’s not about luck, and it’s not about green beer. St. Patrick’s Day is about the faith and sacrifice of a man who shared his faith, and the love of God, with a nation… and for that we remember him today.