His father was a town councilor and a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the church of the day. We know about his life from three books that he wrote, “The Confession” (his autobiography in 62 paragraphs), “Letter to Coroticus” (against British Slave Traders) and “Lorica“ or “Breastplate,” from which comes the hymn. “I bind unto myself today, the strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three-in-One and One-in-Three.…" ("Common Praise" Hymn Book of the Anglican Church of Canada #436.)
The Father speaks to me of Saint Patrick's family life and how he learned of the Christian Way through his father, mother and his family as a child and young man. Growing up he experienced many Christian truths which he tucked away and came back to later in his life.
Many of us have had the same experience. I grew up in a non-Christian home and first learned about Jesus through two insurance sales persons, Miss Church and Miss Butt, who also ran a local Sunday School for St Catherine’s Church of England Church in Birkenhead, Cheshire. I not only learned the books of the Bible by heart there but I saw the love of Jesus in these two beautiful caring people. I also recall a scout leader named George Hoffman who cared for me to the point of buying me some hiking socks which my parents could not afford. George was later ordained and served as the Director of a Christian Aid Agency until a sudden and very tragic accident took his life.
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As a child and in my teens, I also thought of the Bible as a collection of nice stories until while on a journey to Birmingham from Liverpool by motorcycle, I felt the hand of God on me. I said to God, “Lord, if you are real come into my life and change me.” I had always questioned, “why did Jesus die on the cross?” and Jesus told me, “I died for you.” He convinced me and he changed me in that moment. The Bible became alive and real for the first time, God’s word speaking personally to me. The foul language which had been part of my life on those building sites was washed away and Jesus himself came to live in my heart. I was a new creation in Christ.
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The Holy Spirit lives in, burns and invigorates every Christian. St Patrick knew it and I know it. St Paul also knew it for he wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5.17)
That's what I think anyway.