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The Real St. Patrick

03.14.14

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and I have always loved the real story of St. Patrick.  Do you know how courageous and humble St. Patrick really was?

First of all, let’s disspell a few myths. Patrick wasn’t truly a saint, with a capital S, because he was never formally canonized by Rome. Patrick wasn’t even from Ireland! And, he wasn’t the first missionary to Ireland either. Many documents show that Palladius arrived in Ireland as a missionary approximately 5 years prior to Patrick’s arrival.  Patrick didn’t drive out the snakes, literally, because many people believe that there were never any snakes on the island of Ireland.  Many think that this is a metaphor, for the numerous people who turned from paganism to Christianity.

Patrick was born in what is now Scotland, north of England. He was sold into slavery at 16 years old, and forced to work in Ireland as a slave. He writes that he was told in a dream by God to escape by boat to his homeland, so he walked to the boat, which was 200 miles away. He had to convince the boat’s crew that he was indeed supposed to be aboard, to travel back to his homeland. Once there, Patrick was taken in by a loving family, who told him more about Jesus Christ.

Patrick wrote that he had another dream from God, in which an angel read aloud a letter from the people of Ireland, pleading him to come back with the good news of Jesus Christ. So, when he was approximately 40 years old, he returned to Ireland, with a strategy to convert first the chiefs, then the other local people. It worked. Many people put their faith in Jesus Christ because of Patrick.

Can you imagine the humility and courage that it must have taken Patrick to return to the area where he was once a slave?  His love for the Lord, and for more people to know the Lord Jesus Christ was his motivator to face again his prior captors.

When I think of Patrick’s life story in terms of mental health, many things come to mind.  First of all, his self-esteem was based on his new identity in Christ, not on a horrible part of his life.  He probably had to keep his mind focused on the calling God had for him, in order to accomplish God’s will on earth.  Secondly, I wonder if he was ever fighting depression during his life.  In his youth, while tending sheep for his master, he spent much of his time in prayer.  Next, what about his parents?  Surely they tried to prevent his slavery, but, even if they didn’t, Patrick didn’t spend his adult life blaming his parents for his misery.  He found out what God wanted from him, and set out to do it.  No matter the cost:  of his comfort, his anxiety or personal desires.

St. Patrick was an amazing, Christ-like man.  If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, remember that the real Patrick had to overcome a lot of obstacles in his childhood, and humbled himself to do the will of God, and to advance God’s kingdom, long before he was recognized as a hero.

Do you have obstacles from your childhood that keep you from your destiny?  Do you want to move past the abuse, anxiety, depression or low self-esteem?  If so, give me a call today.  I look forward to serving you.

Sincerely,

Faith Gallup, LCSW

847-962-5234

 

PS:  To read more about the Real St. Patrick, follow this link to the only authenticated document that he wrote, called “The Confession of St. Patrick.”     www.ccel.org/ccel/patrick/confession.i.html.

 

 

 

anxiety resources

helpful websites

  • TroubledWith: Stress
    Excellent collection of resources on dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as when and how to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA)
    National, non-profit membership organization dedicated to informing the public, healthcare professionals and legislators about anxiety disorders, promote the early diagnosis, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders, and improve the lives of the people who suffer from them.
  • Freedom From Fear
    National not-for-profit mental health advocacy association developed to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support.