Copies have survived of two writings of St Patrick. They tell us the kind of man Patrick was, of his faith and of his understanding of God. They tell us that Patrick was a man who knew how to turn adversity into opportunity. He successfully turned the adversity of six years of slavery on Slemish into an opportunity to grow in his knowledge and love of the God who, in Patrick’s words, “protected and comforted me as a father would his son.” That knowledge and love of the Triune God are the basis of Patrick’s greatness.
Adversity also taught him the folly of relying exclusively on himself and the necessity of relying on others and especially on the God who created him.
My hope on this St Patrick’s day is that more and more Irish people will come to know the kind of person St Patrick really was, that they will come to know the faith that inspired him and carried him through the adversities of his life [more].Let us not celebrate this day with drunken revelry, but with deep gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of so generous a man as Patrick, who dedicated his life to the spread of the Gospel in a foreign land.