it’s st. patrick’s day today.
it’s always a strange day for me: my family’s irish and we’re proud of our emerald heritage, but i’ve never been particularly enthralled by the hype surrounding march 17.
there’s been a patrick in every generation of my family going back at least three. the name intrigues me; the heritage and the ethnicity of the name do too. i am irish, but what does that mean?
this year i decided to google st. patrick and see if he’d written anything i could read.
it turns out he did.
and it turns out the kindle version of his confessio was less than a dollar on amazon, so that’s a shamrock petal in mr. st. patrick’s favor.
the confessio is split into sixty-two sections. most of them are reiterations of scripture or patrick’s reflections on his life and time in captivity. there are two particular things that struck me as i read.
the first is from the last section. it begins, “I pray for those who believe in and have reverence for God.” i thought of Christ praying for us in john 17:20-26 and i began to wonder when, if ever, we pray for the church like this.
when do we pray for believers, for those who confess their faith in our God and Savior? this thought never struck me until now, and yet knowing it i wonder that i never considered it before. how can we not pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith? we know their struggle intimately: to walk worthy of the calling we have received. we know it because we struggle with it ourselves and yet do we ever pray for the strengthening of their faith as we plead for the strengthening of our own?
i don’t, but i’m praying now. and i pray i would continue to pray on their – on your – behalf because God surely knows i know what it’s like to need 98% short of a whole mustard seed of faith.
the second thing that struck me was a story in section 42 that patrick tells about a woman who came to him and expressed her desire to follow Christ. he spoke about the fight women endured from their parents in doing so and marveled at the fact that they “bear even terror and threats, but the Lord gives grace to so many of the women who serve him.”
“[T]he Lord gives grace to so many of the women who serve him” (emphasis mine).
do you ever feel you’re a whole tank short of the grace you need for a given situation much less the whole day so much less the entirety of your life? SISTER. I AM SO THERE. but the Lord gives grace. we’re the vehicle, not the source. amen for that.
i’m just floored by that clause, because, i think, a woman of grace is precisely what i want to be. and it’s almost elementary, the revelation that becoming a woman of grace is not something i have the power to accomplish. there is nothing in me that could produce even a sorry attempt at becoming such a person.
the Lord gives us grace. it’s something we have to receive so He can channel it through us, not something we have to summon from within us.
that’s a truth that frees my soul to live vibrantly.
patrick mentions a few times he serves in ireland because it is the work God calls him to do. it’s not a place he particularly wants to be.
my longing to see the emerald isle is so great, it’s baffling to me it would be st. patrick’s nineveh. but it is, maybe because it was initially the place of his captivity, maybe because his family remained in britain. and i wonder how often we fight our own ninevehs – how often i fight my own, fought it even this morning – and whether when we look back as patrick did on his life we will see the race well run. Lord, how i pray for all of us who claim Your name that it is so.