This Week's Story

Druid priests and chieftains resist Patrick, but he keeps talking about Jesus and the Bible to poor and rich, slave and free.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Voice of the Irish, part three

Men shouted, “Leave!”

“Get into your boat.”

“Foreigners have no right here. Go back to Britain!

Patrick looked at the menacing warriors surrounding him and his companions. These Irish men are killers in battle and we’re in their territory. God, what if I try to talk to them? I have good news for them.

No inner voice from God said, “Stay and speak.”

So Patrick and his men returned to the longship in which they had come. They hauled it off the shore and set sail. A steady wind carried them further north along the coast of Ireland.

Patrick thought, Once I was a free, fun-loving teenager in Britain. Irish pirates kidnapped and dragged me to Ireland. They sold me and I became property. Milchu bought me and forced me to be his sheepherder for six years.

“I was made to shepherd … flocks day after day,

and, as I did so, I would pray all the time, right

through the day.

More and more the love of God and fear of him grew

strong within me, …

even before dawn broke, I would be aroused to pray.

In snow, in frost, in rain,

I would hardly notice any discomfort,

And I was never slack but always full of energy.”

Your voice told me to escape. Through dangers you guided me home to my family. Later you gave me a dream of a letter with the heading: “Voice of the Irish.” I seemed to hear Irish voices crying to me, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.” When the dream left me, I was willing to obey you.

I spent years studying the Bible and becoming a priest. Now I do not consider myself to be well educated, but I know the language of the Irish. I know their ways and I know you will guide me to teach your Word.

The longship Patrick was in moved north until he stepped from it in the islands off Skerries coast of Ireland. It was 432 A.D. and Patrick was 45 years old. He began travelling through northern and western Ireland. Druid priests and chieftains often resisted him. He kept talking about Jesus and the Bible to people, poor and rich, slave and free.

One chieftain’s son soon joined Patrick. Milchu, Patrick’s former owner, became a Christian. They were two among thousands who were baptized. Under St. Patrick’s leadership about 300 churches began. Patrick wrote about the Irish, “Never before did they know of God except to serve idols and unclean things. But now, they have become the people of the Lord, and are called children of God.”

Ireland was divided into over 100 kingdoms, each with a king. Patrick refused to accept gifts from them. Gift giving and taking was a custom. His refusal stripped him of legal protection, but he did not want to be accused of taking advantage of givers.

Patrick wrote little about himself. He mentioned that once he was beaten, once robbed of all he had, and once put into chains. Years later he was held captive for sixty days.

In one horrific occasion he baptized a large group of young men and women. They were attacked by Coroticus, a rich land-owning tyrant, and his warriors. Men were slaughtered; many became slaves. Women faced abuse. Patrick wrote a public letter in Latin exposing the cruelty of Coroticus.

Christianity spread throughout Ireland. Patrick helped reshape Irish laws, provide education, improve the rights of women, poor, and slaves. Monasteries were started and became centers of learning. These changes became history.

This is Barbara Steiner wishing there was more history about St. Patrick. Please visit: thisweeksstory.com.

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