When I was a kid I remembered St. Patrick’s Day as the day they dyed the Chicago River green.
When I was in college it was the day the pubs turned the beer green.
But now as a man living in the age of coronavirus, I recall St. Patrick as a worthy model for these days…
Born in Britain at the end of the fourth century, St. Patrick lived in a time of great upheaval — the last days of the Roman Empire.
At age sixteen, invading pirates took Patrick captive and sold him into slavery in Ireland.
After six years of servitude, Patrick escaped and returned to his homeland.
Though home, the suffering of Patrick’s captivity had made its mark… leading him from the nominal Christianity of his upbringing to a deep and profound faith.
And, as Patrick describes it, he was “struck to the heart” and convinced it was his duty to return to the land of his captivity and bring the Irish to Christ.
Upon returning to Ireland, Patrick felt inadequate for the task because his prior enslavement cut short his education.
But before long his upright character and earnest approach gave him favor with others.
As the Celtic people turned to Christ, Ireland became a place of refuge from the barbarians sweeping across the crumbling empire.
And through the relative calm of this place, the best of history was preserved until a brighter day.
St. Patrick — like us — faced rapid change and instability.
The people of his day had many fears, and the future was uncertain.
But through his life of faith, hope and charity, Patrick led many to Christ, leading to transformed lives and the promise of a better tomorrow.
As our own age faces its fears, fragmentation — and now isolation — we must fix our hope and find our stability in Jesus Christ as Lord over all.
And we need to carry on in the new circumstances God has brought us with courage, faith, and humility… believing He continues to rule and work out the advance of His kingdom.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation
~ St. Patrick (ca. 377)