Today we raise a glass of beer to a fine fellow, the Irishman who didn’t rid the land of snakes, didn’t compare the Trinity to the shamrock, and wasn’t even Irish. St. Patrick, who died 1,507, 1,539, or 1,540 years ago today—depending on which unreliable source you want to believe—has been adorned with centuries of Irish blarney. Innumerable folk tales recount how he faced down kings, negotiated with God, tricked and slaughtered Ireland’s reptiles.
The facts about St. Patrick are few. Most derive from the two documents he probably wrote, the autobiographical Confession and the indignant Letter to a slave-taking marauder named Coroticus. Patrick was born in Britain, probably in Wales, around 385 A.D. His father was a Roman official. When Patrick was 16, seafaring raiders captured him, carried him to Ireland, and sold him into slavery. The Christian Patrick spent six lonely years herding sheep and, according to him, praying 100 times a day. In a dream, God told him to escape. He returned home, where he had another vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them: “We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more,” he recalls in the Confession. He studied for the priesthood in France, then made his way back to Ireland.
He spent his last 30 years there, baptizing pagans, ordaining priests, and founding churches and monasteries. In all, Saint Patrick baptized over 120,000 Irishmen and planted 300 churches. His persuasive powers must have been astounding: Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully. Patrick’s Christian conversion ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most intertribal warfare in Ireland.
"As a youth, nay, almost as a boy not able to speak, I was taken captive … I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft … And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity — benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise." -Saint Patrick
"If someone is going to criticize you, it’s more of a reflection of them than it is of you." - Greg Graffin
I’ve been intrigued lately with progress and failure. Failure is not morally wrong. Popular belief says that failure is a negative thing and must not happen. If it does, we will be publicly scorned, frowned upon, and won’t be taken seriously the next time we try our hand at success. If we fail today, it can be tough to regain composure because of how the world has made failure to be our greatest enemy. Failure is not our greatest enemy; apathy is. Not being honest with ourselves and not nurturing that God-given gift built in all of us, and letting what we are truly passionate about die off - that is our greatest enemy. If passions and talents aren’t carefully cultivated, the effects will be detrimental to our souls. A person cannot reap where they haven’t sown. And when a person tries to reap where they haven’t sown, they begin to starve to death and may result to theft and other such immoralities. I’ve seen that many successful people, and companies, started out with failures, such as Masaru Ibuka, founder of Sony. And many started out having to do something else other than their true passion, such as Bill Boeing, to make ends meet (Bill made furniture for a while to stay afloat). So mistakes and failure are a part of that road we must walk. Thorns and thistles will come of it, but a harvest will come also, however small and however insignificant it may be. “Are you born a writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action. Do it, or don’t do it. Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got (Pressfield)”.