Did you remember to tuck your shamrock in your pocket this morning? Do you know the three-leafed clover was once used to teach the concept of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? If your memory hasn’t been nudged by these clues, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, named for the patron saint of Ireland.
Born the son of a Roman British army officer in the 4th century, Maewyn Sucat was captured by a band of pirates who landed in South Wales and sold him into slavery in Ireland. He spent six years there, mostly imprisoned, until he made his escape to Britain on a getaway ship.
Now free, he adopted his Romanized name Patrick, joined a monastery in France, and studied under St. Germain. After twelve years in training, Patrick became a bishop and dreamed that the Irish were calling him back to Ireland to tell them about God. With the Pope’s blessing, he returned. Patrick used the three-leaved plant, the shamrock, to explain the Trinity to the Gaelic Irish. The number three was a significant number to the pagan culture, which had several triple deities, a fact that aided Patrick in his evangelization attempts. A tireless preacher, Patrick made many converts, even among the royal families.
When the Order of St. Patrick was founded in 1783 it adopted blue as its color. But Irish nationalism prevailed and green emerged as the chosen color, associated both with Ireland’s lush, green countryside and Patrick’s use of the shamrock. Even though the day originated as a religious feast day in honor of the patron saint, it has now become an international event celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, and wearing green.
The man’s history is intriguing when you consider how God used a childhood event, Patrick’s capture and imprisonment, to give the man a heart for a pagan culture, utilizing a native plant to teach them about the God he knew.
In Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) parents are told, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Many learned about a loving, heavenly Father who sent his son, Jesus, to save mankind from eternal damnation by living, dying, and rising again, all because of one dedicated man and the simple shamrock.