The life of St. Patrick shows how God can use the hard times we experience to transform us
Reflections on the readings for the Memorial of St. Patrick (March 17, 2020): DN 3:25,34-43; PS 25:4-5,6-7,8-9; MT 18:21-35
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days
St. Patrick considered his faith and relationship with God and people great blessings.
Today we honor St. Patrick, the patron of Ireland who brought the faith to Ireland in the 5th century. He had been determined to return there after enduring six difficult years in Ireland as a slave while in his teens. He experienced cold and hunger as a shepherd, but he was able to use his isolation as a time of spiritual growth. The Old Testament reading for today might well have been prayed by Patrick during those desolate days. “For your name’s sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever.… Do not take away Your mercy.… But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received.… As we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in You cannot be put to shame” (Daniel 3:34-35, 39-40). In time, Patrick managed to get away and began studies for the priesthood. It was his ardent hope to convert the Ireland to the Christian faith. He went back to the island as a missionary bishop and was able to preach belief in Jesus our Savior far and wide. He died in his adopted homeland on this date in 461 A.D.
In his Confessio, St. Patrick wrote about the way his years of slavery in Ireland and his return there shaped his faith and relationship with God and with people. “This is why I cannot be silent…about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to His great wonders before every nation under heaven.” Each day we can also resolve to praise and bear witness to God’s goodness.
Suggested missionary action: Let us pray to St. Patrick asking him to protect the Church’s missionaries and those they serve. We can also ask his intercession for us – helping us to live and share our faith day by day.