This Lent, we’re sharing a series of weekly reflections provided by members of The Saint Francis Foundation’s Church Relations team. The Very Rev. Chas Marks has written a few thoughts for this Friday.
As it so happens, the commemoration of the life and ministry of St. Patrick of Ireland always falls during the season of Lent. Despite that, St. Patrick’s Day is known throughout our country as a day of revelry and festivity. But shouldn’t there be more to it than green beer and shenanigans?
There is much we can learn from this 5th Century holy man and much that can be applied to our lives during this holy Lenten season.
Despite growing up as the son of a deacon and the grandson of a priest, Patrick admits in his written work, The Confession, that he did not know the true God. He had a lack of faith. It was not until a crisis occurred (his kidnapping from Britain by Irish pirates) that he began to seek God and converted to belief in Christ.
The holy season of Lent calls us each to conversion. We don’t have to wait for a crisis in our lives to turn things around and turn towards God. As we were reminded on Ash Wednesday, “now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
Patrick’s ministry was rooted in forgiveness. Despite being held captive by the Irish for six years, when Patrick returned to Britain, he longed for, more than anything, the opportunity to return to Ireland and bring his former captors to Christ.
Who is it in your life that you need to forgive? Lent is a time when we remember God’s mercy and forgiveness to each of us and as a result are asked to offer the same to those who may have wronged us.
Patrick noted in The Confession that he baptized thousands. He is known as the “Apostle to the Irish”. Each of us, as Christian people, have been charged by our Lord to make disciples of all people. How are you sharing your faith with those around you? Lent is a good time to make a conscientious effort to share your story, to share how God has made a difference in your life. If nothing else, it is a great time to invite friends to attend the beautiful services of Holy Week and Easter with you.
By all means, enjoy this weekend celebration of the Feast of St. Patrick. But remember in your revelry, that there is more to this day than just having a good time. Recall the example of this great saint who turned his life over to our Lord, based his ministry in forgiveness, and brought an entire nation to faith in Christ Jesus. May we each be inspired to follow his example.