Forgiveness + Love = Freedom

I played a leprechaun in a high school musical, and forthwith adopted the leprechaun’s moniker, Og, as my nickname. But only last week did I learn via DNA testing than I am actually more Irish than anything else (39% to be exact). And so it is with a new sense of ethnic enthusiasm that I celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day. Not by drinking green beer (which is more American than Irish), but by revisiting the story of the real-life saint the day is named for. 


Even the Romans feared them. For centuries they avoided the Irish Celts, whom Julius Caesar had called “more savage than any other race.” When the newly Christianized Roman monks finally arrived in the 5th century, they looked down on the Irish barbarians. And in turn, those barbarians looked down on them, while continuing to live in fear of their own vengeful gods.

Then a Roman-British boy of 16 was captured and came to live among them. During his six years as a slave, he learned their language and their character. In slavery he found freedom, finally turning his heart toward God.

Patrick escaped, but then wandered restlessly. In his Confession he writes of a vision in which “the Voice of the Irish” cried out to him, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, come (back) and walk among us.”

After his ordination, the young bishop returned to “walk among” them. They were stunned by this former slave’s embodiment of love and forgiveness. And as a result, not only commoners but warlords and nobles alike surrendered their hearts to God. Faith in the God not of vengeance but of love spread like a flame. Patrick’s simple formula of forgiveness + love had set them free, just as it had him. Just as it has me. And you? If so, pass it on! And have a…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Forgiveness + Love = Freedom

  1. Gary Fultz says:

    I’m picturing two crowds today: one are those who emulate St Patrick and the second just drinks green beer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I just finished writing something about St. Patrick a few minutes ago! Great minds think alike, eh? 😉 Watch for it after 3:00 today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. simplywendi says:

    thank you for sharing this story, too few people know the meaning behind St. Patrick’s Day. bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The true story of Patrick is an amazing testimony. Glad you wrote about that! Welcome to the family of Irish lineage! Our ancestors came from County Cork. Callahan comes from Cellachan who was King of Munster. There are some cool stories about him. Most of my ancestors came from Cork to New York, then settled in Illinois. They were amazed at how good the soil is for farming out there. Happy St. Patrick’s Day and God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Still following the hints on, but it looks like our Irish ancestors came to the U.S. via Nova Scotia in the 1700s. Haven’t learned exactly when or what part of Ireland they immigrated from.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Just found out my Irish ancestors were actually Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who immigrated from Londonderry, Ulster (Northern Ireland) to escape the religious strife there in 1718. A year later they were among 16 families that founded Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Apparently, one or two of the next generation married immigrants from Nova Scotia).


  5. kmcflutist68 says:

    Thank you for sharing this!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. smzang says:

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

    This story was told during ‘Children’s Moment’ in our church today.
    The segment was begun by asking the adult congregation what
    St. Patrick was noted for. !00% of us replied “for chasing the snakes
    out of Ireland.” Well now!! I enjoyed your telling and sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for adding historical context to the day! People need to know the inspirational story of St. Patrick!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for setting the record straight. It’s more than green beer today. Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bob Martin says:

    We share having played roles in Finigan’s (sp) Rainbow. In our version at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield, Missouri in 1961 Og carried the show. Lines such as “For Karen I’m caring, but Susan I’m choosing” and “When I’m not near the one I love, I love the one I’m near” always brought down the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to an Irishman! Your story reminded me of the Ancestry ads where the guy is dressed in lederhosen thinking he is German and then learns he is really Scottish, so trades in lederhosen for a kilt. DNA testing is indeed interesting. I need to do it too. Have a great day, enjoyed the story of St. Patrick.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. revruss1220 says:

    I love this! With your permission, I will share it.
    And yes… I count myself as another one who has been set free by the Prince of Peace.


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful story with a lesson for all of us. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Think about it? Now you have another legal day each year, to make a fool of yourself. Thanks for the history lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I tried to learn Gaelic several years ago and discovered that the Irish word for whiskey literally means “Water Of Life”. Then I imagine the first evangelistto the Celts trying to preach on John 7:38…And The crowd goes wild. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  15. grAnnie Roo says:

    Best St. Pat’s post ever, Mitch. I emailed the link to myself from town during (yet another) internet crash. Twisted as it may seem, I’m a little glad for all of this year’s technical challenges. I got some much needed chill time, without which I would never have gotten back to some great posts!

    Liked by 1 person

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