Dear Friends & Prayer Partners,
This month we want to share a little about a courageous Christian leader from ancient times, Patrick, with the purpose of inspiring all of us to deeper faith, broader forgiveness, and stronger fortitude.
Who Was “St. Patrick”?
(Without All the Blarney)
It is true that Patrick was a saint, because he was a Christian, but I’m also certain that he did not wear “Saint” as a title. You see, according to the New Testament, every Christian is a saint because he is set apart unto God for His purpose when he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord. The word “saint” simply means “set apart”. 1 Corinthians 1:2 says: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord…” (NKJV) To be a Christian is to be a saint, but it does not mean we are already perfected, nor does it have anything to do with plastic images. It means we have accepted Christ’s call to come to Him, to be His, and to be “set apart” for Him. Therefore, it is never appropriate nor Biblically accurate to say, “Well, I’m no saint.” This is equivalent to saying, “I’m no Christian.” However, neither would it be appropriate for us to adopt “Saint” as a title just because God’s Word teaches that in Christ we are saints. (So please don’t’ call me St. Rick or expect me to call you St. Pete, St. Jim, or St. Susan!)
Patrick was a powerfully effective missionary to Ireland in the 5th century, but contrary to legends about him, he was not Irish, he was not Roman Catholic, and he did not drive snakes out of Ireland. So what did Patrick do? He forgave his worst enemies of terrible atrocities and went back to them in the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God to persuade them to accept the Good News and follow Jesus. His influence brought thousands to surrender their lives to Christ.
Voice of the Martyrs has an illustrated book for children entitled, “The Story of St. Patrick: More than Shamrocks and Leprechauns.” In the March 2007 issue of the Voice of the Martyrs magazine is printed the following review of the book:
“Buried beneath the St. Patrick’s Day symbols of shamrocks and leprechauns lies the story of a man determined to share the message of salvation with the people who made him a slave.
“Read about the man behind the holiday who is kidnapped by Irish pirates and sold as a slave. Away from his family, he cries out to his heavenly Father. His faith in Christ grows and young Patrick tells his fellow slaves about Him, only to be called names. Patrick escapes one day and is able to return home to his family. However, he cannot forget the people who oppressed him. Years pass, and Patrick senses God wants him to return to Ireland to share the gospel. Despite the risks, Patrick returns and faces great danger. Follow Patrick on this great adventure in this fully-illustrated book. Read this true story of the heroic martyr who loved Jesus more than his own life. Young and old alike will be inspired to reach out to those in need of salvation in a world increasingly hostile to Christ. (Fully-illustrated, Hardback, 40 pp.)”
You can order this book from VOM by calling (800) 747-0085 or by visiting the VOM online bookstore at www.VOMBooks.com. The cost is $19.00 + shipping and handling (but $15.00 this month).