St. Patrick, his life, his heroic virtues, his labours, and the fruits of his labours

Image may contain: 2 people, indoor

St. Patrick, his life, his heroic virtues, his labours, and the fruits of his labours

by Rev. Henry Gibson, 1881

The great St. Patrick, who was sent by the Pope, four hundred years after our Blessed Lord, to preach the gospel to the Irish, found them a prey to gross superstition and idolatry. In the course of his apostolic journeys, he arrived at the hill of Tara on Easter Eve, the very day on which the false priests of the country, called Druids, were performing on that sacred spot the ceremonies of their false god Baal, in presence of King Leogaire and all his court. According to the ancient law of the country, no fire could be lighted on that day before the sacred fire of Baal had been kindled ; and the Druids had warned the King that, if this were done, the person who lighted the unlawful flame would subdue the land, and change the customs and religion of the people. St. Patrick, however, in performing the solemn office of the Church, blessed the sacred fire, as is usual on Easter Eve, and lighted the Paschal candle. The Druids, observing the strange light, came to the King in the greatest consternation, and begged that he would immediately order it to be extinguished. Thereupon the King, summoning his armed horsemen, rode in anger to the spot, but was met by St. Patrick and his attendants, who came forth in procession, singing the praises of God. The King, touched by God’s grace, received him with courtesy, and granted him an audience, which took place on the following morning. At this conference, which was attended by all the chieftains and Druids of the neighbourhood, St. Patrick delivered a full explanation of Catholic doctrine, which was followed by the conversion of many of his hearers, and soon after by that of the whole island.

It was on this occasion that St. Patrick, while instructing the people in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, gathered from the ground a sprig of shamrock, to explain to them more clearly the doctrine of Three Persons in One God. “Behold,” he would say to them, “this little plant, which bears on the one stalk three small leaves, the exact copy and resemblance of one another. They are distinct and separate, yet they are one, for they form but one sprig, and rest upon one stalk. So is it, my brethren, that I preach to you a God one in nature and three in person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each equally God, but possessing one undivided Godhead.”

Since that time, the faithful people of Ireland have loved and cherished this little plant, which their great apostle made use of in the conversion of their forefathers. They have never ceased to glory in it, as the fittest emblem of their country and their faith.–Life of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick

Image may contain: one or more people

St. Patrick Bishop, Apostle of Ireland

by Rev. Charles Fell and Bishop Richard Challoner 1750

Patrick, a native of that part of Britain now called Scotland, was born about the middle of the 4th Century. The Romans having left this Island naked and defenseless, it’s inhabitants were an easy prey to their troublesome neighbors the Irish, who made several incursions, and carried off considerable booty. Our Saint was sixteen years old, when he fell into the hands of those plunderers; and was carried into Ireland, where the hardships of slavery were to prepare him for the labors of an Apostle; and the experience he had of the spiritual necessities of that people was to inspire him with the charitable design of carrying the Light of the Gospel amongst them. After he had spent five or six years in that Ireland, he found means to make his escape, and return to his own country. He stayed there about four months, and in that time had frequent visions relating to the place of his late captivity, which he took as so many Divine admonitions for endeavoring the conversion of the Island he had left. Continue reading