Pathways through Lent

St. Patrick’s day

First Thursday of Lent [Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461]

Deuteronomy 9:23-10:5 Psalms 19, 46, 50, 59, 60 Hebrew 4:1-10 John 3:16-21

Saint Patrick’s Confessio sketches his remarkable life story, including the six years he spent in slavery in Ireland as a young man. Patrick learned the Celtic tongue while serving as a shepherd for a druidic chieftain before God called him and provided him a path to freedom. In discussing his life, he quotes from Psalm 50, one of our Psalms for today. In verse 15, God says to us, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

St. Patrick (from

Patrick experienced this arc in a very vivid way. He called upon God to rescue him from slavery; he was delivered miraculously; and he went on to spread the glory of God throughout Ireland. Most of us are safe from the kind of literal slavery Patrick experienced, but we all experience days of trouble. As I have learned over and over again throughout my life, God’s offer of deliverance is always available and never withheld. Where I continually struggle, however, is in my response to that deliverance. There are any number of ways to glorify God. Unlike Patrick, I do not believe I am called to convert a nation, but I am sometimes not sure I am brave or wise or energetic enough to glorify God in even the small ways He sets before me.

In prayer and reflection, however, I am reminded that God does not ask more of me than I can give. Sometimes it is more than I might be comfortable giving, but when I am honest with myself I know that is no excuse for failing to glorify the One who has delivered me not only from mundane suffering but from death itself. Glory to God.




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