March often seems like an idle month . . . a bit of a boring season tucked between the end of football and the start of baseball. Sometimes Easter arrives early, but otherwise we’ve only Saint Patrick’s Day to celebrate – that holiday when even non-Irish men and women wear green garb and eat corned beef and cabbage
Who was that fellow Patrick, anyway? Like another famous figure, Saint Nicholas, Patrick was also a real person – and he lived 385-461 A.D. He belonged to a Christian family of Roman citizenship in Britain, but he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and shipped to Ireland as a slave. After six years of hard labor, Patrick had a dream that urged him to return to Britain – so he escaped, but ended up in Gaul.
After wandering for some time, the young man eventually ended up in a monastery to study God’s Word. He then received another somewhat shocking vision – God wanted Him to return to Ireland! His love for the Lord led him back to the very people who had enslaved him . . . and Patrick’s desire was to help the Irish find freedom in Christ. In fact, one of his first acts was to defy pagan priests by putting out a fire they had set for the false gods worshipped in those days.
In his book, Confessions, Saint Patrick summed up his mission this way:
“I came to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even bondage, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others . . . If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for Christ’s name. I want to spend myself for that country, even in death, if the Lord should grant me this favor.”
Patrick’s dedication to those who had hurt him is amazing, and it was only with Christ’s transformational power that he was able to not only forgive them but also want to fight for their salvation. This is what God’s grace can do in us. It can change our hearts and help us show compassion to others who desperately need to know the love of the Lord!
Another lesson we can learn from Patrick is that we don’t have to go on a special pilgrimage to become saints. The word saint literally means “holy one” . . . someone who is set apart for the Lord. God actually begins this transformation from sinner to saint when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Here are a few verses to remind us of who we are in God’s sight:
” So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.”
“. . . to the church of God, which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified to Christ Jesus, saints by calling . . .”
I Corinthians 1:2
So, dear Saints, may you find meaning this month in the special calling you have from the Lord. Look for ways you can reach out into your world to share about the Savior. Walk closely with Christ so that nothing gets you off track from doing God’s will. And pray for wisdom and strength as you continue this journey, living up to your status of saint no matter where life takes you.
Thought of the Month
As for the saints who are in the earth,
They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.