Hearing God’s Voice, Obeying God’s Call: The Story of St. Patrick
as retold by Vintage Mama
Soft gray mist swirled silently around the cottage where Patrick waited for daybreak. Although it was springtime in the village Dalraida, the early mornings were always damp and chilly in the northern Irish countryside. Patrick lay shivering in the predawn darkness, far from the warmth of the embers still glowing in the fireplace at the center of the round house of Milchu.
As Milchu’s servant, Patrick was allowed only to be in the cuile, the smaller room at the back of the turf home, where there was little warmth or light. In the early morning quiet, Patrick’s thoughts returned to his home and family back in Roman Britain. He thought fondly of his parents, Calphurnius and Conchessa, and his life as the only son of a Roman noble family. His father was the decurio for their Roman village, and his mother was a near relative of the great patron of Gaul, St. Martin of Tours.
He remembered days of his youth, as the privileged son of a high-ranking Roman official, for whom no expenses were spared for his comfort and pleasure. Patrick also recalled the days when he first realized the mercy and grace that God had so lovingly expressed to him through the gift of salvation in Jesus, his Savior. But in the midst of the pagan household of the Irish chieftain Milchu, Patrick often struggled with fear and loneliness. His thoughts returned to moments of joy in the loving care of his family, and then he recalled the terror of his captivity, when he was snatched from his childhood home in the dark night of an autumn thunderstorm.
Patrick shuddered as he remembered the rough words of Milchu’s soldiers as they pillaged and plundered the village of his youth. Their language was strange to him, it was not his native Latin tongue, but the unfamiliar Celtic words struck great fear into Patrick’s heart as the marauders shouted orders and roughly shoved his family out into the raging storm. Patrick had been only sixteen years old when he had been captured by Milchu’s soldiers. His family had been forced out of their modest but comfortable home at the point of the soldier’s spears. Their home had been burned, the animals slaughtered, and Patrick had been taken away for ransom. But the ransom had never materialized, after his family’s wealth had all been plundered by the pagan marauders.
Patrick thought of the long years of his captivity, nearly six years in all, during which time he tended the flocks of Milchu, the High Druid of Dalraida, in the valley of the Braid and on the slopes of Slemish Mountain. Patrick thought of all the days in which he pastured the flocks, and each day he would pray many times, up to one hundred prayers a day. He recalled how God had protected him , and his love and fear of God increased, as did his faith, so that many times he would stay out in the forests and up on the mountain, praying before daylight in the snow and icy coldness of winter. He thought of the chilly, rainy days of spring and even through the summer in the North of Ireland when he would seek God’s presence. And even in the midst of the misery of captivity, Patrick sensed God’s presence, as he neither experienced any illness as he wandered the valley of the Braid, nor weariness in his spirit because God’s Spirit burned in his heart through the lonely days of his servitude.
Now Patrick realized that if he was ever to return to his home and family, he must find a way to escape the grasp of his master. In the damp, dark predawn mist, Patrick suddenly heard the rustling of the wind in the trees outside the cuile, and he felt the presence of his Heavenly Father in the humble dwelling. Patrick began to pray, whispering in the silence of the morning, asking God to reveal to him what he must do . . . .
Read the rest of the story of St. Patrick HERE, and please leave a comment so we know you stopped by for a visit!