St. Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday here in Northern Ireland, a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland, and a special day that is recognised and celebrated around the world from Argentina to Japan. There will be parades, meals, parties, all kinds of green worn, and all-night drinking sessions. Here is Ireland for most people, it is yet another chance to get drunk.
However you may celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to just let you know a few things that we can learn from Saint Patrick. The italicised words below are direct quotes from Patrick himself. I want to thank Stephen Baker for emailing me much of the information below. I think you will see that to have a day to remember and honour a man like this is good thing; I hope you won’t dishonour the Lord or the memory of St. Patrick by celebrating in an ungodly way.
1. Patrick Knew He Was a Sinner.
I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.
2. Patrick Trusted in Jesus Christ as His Saviour.
And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance.
3. Patrick Believed that It Was His Duty to Preach the Gospel to the World.
Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.
4. God Used Patrick to Ignite a Fire in Ireland That Reached Europe With the Gospel.
By his death in 461 AD, Patrick had founded 300 churches, baptised 120,000 believers and his followers re-evangelised Europe.
Dr. John Wimblish says, Even so cautious and reliable a historian as Green, in his “Short History of the English Bible,” says: “For a time it seemed as if the course of the world’s history was to be changed; as if that older Celtic race which the Roman and German had swept before them had turned to the moral conquest of their conquerors; as if Celtic and not Latin Christianity was to mould the destinies of the Church of the West.” This was the beginning of the golden age of Ireland. It is forever true that when the Holy Word of God is opened and preached to the people, the chains of illiteracy and vice are broken. The real Patrick was a Bible-reading, Bible-believing, Bible-preaching missionary and it was the unadulterated Gospel of the Son of God that lifted the Irish out of the darkness of paganism into the glorious light of the Truth. Hands that once grasped the sword were now folded reverently in prayer. The heathen stone idols, known as Cromlechs, that once marked their graves gave way to the cross of Jesus. Druid paganism was crushed and the “buffer state of Europe” became known as the “Isle of Saints.” Odriscol who, incidentally, was an Irish Catholic, in his work entitled, “Views of Ireland,” says, “The Christian church of that country, as founded by St. Patrick and his predecessors, existed for many ages, free and unshackelled. For 700 years this church maintained its independence. It had no connection with England and differed on points of importance with Rome.”
It was not until the year 1172 A.D., at the Council of Cashel, that Henry II of England and the Pope prevailed over this people and another great victory was won for the Roman Catholic hierarchy. But from the days of Patrick to the fateful Council of Cashel, many glorious victories were won for the cause of Christ by the Irish Christians.