Janet`s March letter to the Community

When you read this, we will have just entered Lent, the season of preparation for the remembrance of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.  It is a season when, traditionally, Christians engage in some of form of self-denial in order to focus more fully on God.  These practices are not an end in themselves, but a way of reminding us that life is about more than the material, and the purpose of life is more than happiness and self-realisation.

We have a great example of Christian dedication in the life of a saint whose Feast Day always falls in this season – St Patrick – who is celebrated on the presumed anniversary of his death on 17th March 461.  Looking at the summary of his life, I realised that I knew almost nothing about him, except that he is the Patron Saint of Ireland, and that he is said to have banished snakes from the island of Ireland, although modern palaeontology suggests that the snakes were never there.

I discovered that he has never been formally canonised, that he was born in Britain, that the location of his birth is disputed, that his parents were Christian believers, and that he was captured by Irish pirates when he was 16 and enslaved for six years, during which time his faith in God began to grow.  After his escape he travelled to Europe and trained as a priest in Gaul, before returning as a missionary to Ireland, where his gentleness and kindness drew many to the Christian faith, in the face of considerable opposition.  Later, as a Bishop, he established monasteries that enabled the continuation of his work and teaching after his death.

Two pieces of Patrick’s writing survive, generally accepted to be genuine, his “Confessions” and a “Letter to Coroticus”.  They give some details about his life, particularly that he attributes the development of his faith to the trials he faced during his time of slavery, offering inspiration for those who are going through difficult times.  But most of all his writings reveal his character as a man of great humility, aware of his need for forgiveness, and of his dependence on God for the strength and wisdom to live well.  Let’s be encouraged by this holy life, and rejoice with our Irish neighbours on 17th March!

With every blessing,


Powered by Church Edit