St. Patrick: Christ in Strangers

by | Mar 16, 2024 | Church, Liturgy, Teachings

“Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day! While St. Patrick’s Day is something of a national celebration of alcohol, it’s very important in my family. It is the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. He passed away in 2018 after a long battle with health issues. Granddad was a wonderful man, and the stronghold of Catholicism in my family. It was a beautiful comfort to my family that he died on March 17th, because we would not be Catholic without St. Patrick.

Though both my parents are cradle Catholics, my mom’s family was much stronger in their faith. Her ancestors (and my great-grandfather) came from Ireland, where St. Patrick was Christ to the strangers.

Patrick was kidnapped as a young man from England and taken as a slave to Ireland. He spent years there in slavery to pagan Irishman. Through his suffering, he was comforted by Christ. Eventually, Patrick escaped his captors and became a priest in England. In addition, he prayed he would one day return to Ireland and convert the nation to God. Remarkably, in 432 A.D., Patrick became the first bishop of Ireland. He voluntarily returned to a country that had enslaved him, risking death and imprisonment again to convert the pagans.

Prayer of St. Patrick

Patrick’s life is an incredible story, and well worth the read to anyone interested. His is a story of courage, bravery, piety, and devotion. He humbled himself to preach to the pagans and druids in terms they could understand. Furthermore, Patrick followed Christ’s example and spoke in parables they could relate to, such as, a shamrock to demonstrate the trinity. He endured his captivity with grace and patience. Then he returned to his captors with love.

St. Patrick gave us a new nation united under God. While Ireland is far from perfect, he claimed a new corner of the world for the Lord. He lived as if Christ lived within him. Patrick chose to be Christ to strangers. He chose to see Christ in strangers. Patrick gave his back to those who beat him, his cheeks to those who plucked his beard. We can follow Patrick’s devotion to Christ, and join him in the prayer he made during his captivity:

"Christ be with me. Christ within me. Christ behind me. Christ before me. 
Christ beside me. Christ within me. Christ to comfort and restore me. 
Christ beneath me. Christ above me. Christ in quiet. Christ in danger. 
Christ in hearts of all that love me. Christ in mouth of friend and stranger." 


If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your friends:

Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

Popular Posts