25th day of Lent

Patrick, missionary and bishop to Ireland, had been snatched and captured by Irish raiders from his home in England as a teenager. He spent six miserable years as a slave in Ireland before he escaped back to Britain. During that time, however, he faith and relationship with God grew as he prayed constantly out herding sheep on the Irish hills. He risked his life escaping back to England, and then studied to become a priest. In a dream he heard God’s call to go back to the land of his slavery and preach the gospel to the Irish people. In this way he is an example of one who loved God with heart, soul, mind and strength, even loving his Irish captors as himself. He also loved the land as this stanza of a hymn attributed to him shows:

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.