During the Dark Ages, when European literature lay among the glowing embers of a civilization in ashes, Ireland persevered. Ireland, half the size of Kansas, became a haven for Christian authors, priests and monks throughout the continent all because of a sixteen-year-old boy name Patrick.
Historians believe Patrick was born around 398 A.D. in Wales. Patrick’s village was burned by pirates and he and many villagers were captured. Patrick later wrote that because of their religious abandonment, God had forsaken him and his countrymen and allowed them to be sold into slavery.
Half-starved and half-naked, Patrick tended his Irish chieftain’s sheep. Alone for months at a time, climbing the steep highlands, stumbling down into the soft marshlands, he would seek a lost lamb, knowing that if he lost one, it would mean his life. For his pagan master would sacrifice him to the war god.
Upon the cliffs wet from the foaming Atlantic, slippery like ice beneath his feet, with a lamb tucked beneath his arm and a prayer upon his lips, Patrick realized that someone was carrying him across the deep crevices and sharp rocks to safety.
Patrick would later write; “He watched over me before I knew Him and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and He protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.”
Six years later, Patrick had a dream, and in response to that dream he escaped on a boat to France and then to Britain. He became a bishop. He returned to Ireland and spoke out boldly against Ireland’s heresies, against their paganism rituals of sacrificing infants and using the skulls of their enemies as ceremonial drinking bowls. The Celtic Druids tried to kill him, but Patrick persistently preached for thirty years enduring persecutions, and using the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity.
Over half of our Biblical commentaries between the years of 650 and 850 A.D. were by Irishmen. These Irish monks preached the story of the shamrock and the Good News of Christ Jesus. Their Celtic Christianity would be the inspiration civilization would flock to during the dismal days of the Dark Ages.
St. Patrick, The patron saint of Ireland, wasn’t Irish and before St. Patrick’s Day became a recognized holiday, it was first recognized as a Catholic holy day. Patrick spoke out boldly against the atrocities of his time and because of his faith, Ireland became the channel that inspired Christianity through the Dark Ages.
Was Patrick right? Is it possible that God would allow our enemies to overcome America because of our religious abandonment? Perhaps the best way to remember St. Patrick’s Day is upon our knees. What is your viewpoint?
“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14