By Mary Sayad
At about 403A.D, St. Patrick along with many others was abducted to slavery in pagan Ireland. Prior to his abduction, he had a rebellious nature and was not a devoted Christian. During his captivity he herded sheep on the slopes of a mountain now called Slemish and it was there that he grew spiritually. He lived alone and he prayed constantly, day and night. After six years, while asleep, he heard voices telling him to escape to his homeland. Although he endured much hardship while traveling, he successfully returned to his family.
Afterwards, he spent several years in France studying and preparing for his ministry. After his consecration as a Bishop, Pope St.Celestine dispatched him to Ireland to begin his ministry in Ireland.
Because of his intense fervor for Jesus and Mary, St. Patrick was led to convert pagan Ireland to Christianity through the visions and voices he heard while sleeping. He followed his inspirations with humble obedience to God and spread the gospels throughout the land. Oftentimes, he risked his life while preaching.
St. Patrick gathered many disciples and his evangelization grew with strength. He performed many miracles and he is especially remembered for the conversion of the King's daughters, Ethne and Fedelm, as well as the druids in the town of Erin. The druids were magicians and pagans and were his most bitter opponents. As St. Patrick was preaching the death and resurrection of Jesus, he found a three-leaf shamrock to illustrate the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as One. He convinced them that a heathen kingdom would not last. The King's daughters were quickly converted to Christianity and soon after, the King and his kingdom were likewise converted.
St. Patrick was responsible for converting Ireland to Christianity. St. Patrick is Ireland's Patron Saint and hero. He died in 461 A.D.
Can you imagine St. Patrick worrying over six-pack abs, thinning hair or his maturing face? St. Patrick was challenged by primitive pagans, obstinate druids and the extreme elements.
Like St. Patrick, we too have to battle our pagans. T.V. ads brainwash us with firm abs, muscular bodies, youthful faces, full head of hair, etc, etc, etc, - in your face heathenism. Are we guilty of worshipping false gods when we use our precious time and energies on extraordinary and superficial beauty products? Do we spend too much time and money on our outer appearance and not enough time learning more about our spirituality? We're expected to properly nourish our bodies, exercise reasonably to preserve our health and to grow in faith. God expects us to respect and appreciate every season of our lives. God does not expect us to search for the "fountain of youth." It doesn't exist.
What's your take on heroes and role models? Do you idolize Hollywood's actors and actresses? Hollywood epitomizes entertainers for the glory of the dollar. The fact is that some actors and their roles along with Hollywood's endorsement, have contributed to the rapid decay of our society. They are entertainers by profession - - it is a sin is to idolize them.
Let's exercise our souls by learning more about Jesus and Mary and the Saints. Their love and example transcends the millennia and They are our best role models! Each time we read about them, we may emulate them. Each time we emulate them, we become closer to them and more spiritually beautiful and strong. This spiritual beauty and strength will radiate from us and touch everyone in our lives.