by Rev. Henry Gibson, 1881

The great St. Patrick, who was sent by the Pope, four hundred years after our Blessed Lord, to preach the gospel to the Irish, found them a prey to gross superstition and idolatry. In the course of his apostolic journeys, he arrived at the hill of Tara on Easter Eve, the very day on which the false priests of the country, called Druids, were performing on that sacred spot the ceremonies of their false god Baal, in presence of King Leogaire and all his court. According to the ancient law of the country, no fire could be lighted on that day before the sacred fire of Baal had been kindled ; and the Druids had warned the King that, if this were done, the person who lighted the unlawful flame would subdue the land, and change the customs and religion of the people. St. Patrick, however, in performing the solemn office of the Church, blessed the sacred fire, as is usual on Easter Eve, and lighted the Paschal candle. The Druids, observing the strange light, came to the King in the greatest consternation, and begged that he would immediately order it to be extinguished. Thereupon the King, summoning his armed horsemen, rode in anger to the spot, but was met by St. Patrick and his attendants, who came forth in procession, singing the praises of God. The King, touched by God's grace, received him with courtesy, and granted him an audience, which took place on the following morning. At this conference, which was attended by all the chieftains and Druids of the neighbourhood, St. Patrick delivered a full explanation of Catholic doctrine, which was followed by the conversion of many of his hearers, and soon after by that of the whole island.

It was on this occasion that St. Patrick, while instructing the people in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, gathered from the ground a sprig of shamrock, to explain to them more clearly the doctrine of Three Persons in One God. "Behold," he would say to them, "this little plant, which bears on the one stalk three small leaves, the exact copy and resemblance of one another. They are distinct and separate, yet they are one, for they form but one sprig, and rest upon one stalk. So is it, my brethren, that I preach to you a God one in nature and three in person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each equally God, but possessing one undivided Godhead."

Since that time, the faithful people of Ireland have loved and cherished this little plant, which their great apostle made use of in the conversion of their forefathers. They have never ceased to glory in it, as the fittest emblem of their country and their faith.--Life of St. Patrick.

Q. What is the mystery of the three Persons in one God called?

A. The mystery of the three Persons in one God is called the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.

Q. What do you mean by a mystery?

A. By a mystery, I mean a truth which is above my reason, but revealed by God.

This Divine truth, that there are three Persons in one God, is called the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity. For the word mystery means a truth made known by God to man, which we are not able to understand by the light of our human reason, and the word Trinity means "three in one." Now we are not able to understand how it is possible for there to be three distinct Persons in one undivided Godhead, and yet we know that it is the truth, because God has revealed it; therefore we speak of the Blessed Trinity as a mystery, a great and sublime mystery. There are many other mysteries in religion besides that of the Blessed Trinity; for Almighty God, to try our obedience, proposes many things to our belief which are far beyond our weak, limited understandings, but which the virtue of faith teaches us to receive at once without doubting, because they are revealed by God Himself. For example, it is a mystery to us how God created the world in a moment out of nothing, and how God is present in every portion of space, whole and entire. In regard to these things, we are like little children, who cannot understand many things that grown-up people can ; for example, how a watch can be made to tell the time, or what causes the thunder to roll, or the lightning to flash. In the same manner, grown-up people cannot understand many things which the angels can, for their knowledge and understanding are far greater than ours, so that there are many things that are mysteries to us, which are not mysteries to the angels. And those things which are, so to speak, mysteries to the angels because they have not been revealed to them, are not mysteries to God, for He sees and knows all things. You see, then, that mysteries come only from the fact of our understandings being limited and imperfect. When we go to heaven, those things which are mysteries to us now will be no longer mysteries, for our souls will then be enlightened, and we shall see them in the light of God's presence. Hence, St. Paul says, "We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face" (i Cor. xiii. 12).

I will now say another word about the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. We call the Holy Trinity Blessed, because it is of God, who is worthy to be blest for ever, that we speak; and in the same manner we sometimes say the Adorable Trinity, because the One God in three Persons is worthy of all our adoration. We also sometimes say the Undivided Trinity, because God is not and cannot be divided, though He exists in three distinct Persons. This mystery, my dear children, is the foundation of all religion, and those who do not believe in it, as the Socinians and Unitarians, are not Christians at all. Hence, before we were christened, we were asked, by the priest whether we believed in God the Father, in God the Son, and in God the Holy Ghost; and our godfathers and godmothers, speaking for us, answered, that we did believe. "We were then baptized in the name of the most Holy Trinity. As we owe everything, both in soul and body, to the three Persons of the Adorable Trinity, we ought exceedingly to love and reverence this blessed Mystery. Morning and night should we bow down to adore, praise, and thank the One God in three Divine Persons ; and all that we do, we should perform in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We might also, to honour the Blessed Trinity, sometimes recite, with all the affection of our hearts, this little prayer:--"Blessed be the Holy and Undivided Trinity now and for evermore. Amen."

Q. Is there any likeness to the Blessed Trinity in your soul?

A. Yes; there is this likeness to the Blessed Trinity in my soul, that, as in one God there are three Persons, so in my one soul there are three powers.

Q. Which are the three powers of your soul?

A. The three powers of my soul are my memory, my understanding, and my will.

Our souls, my dear children, which are made to the image and likeness of God, have also a certain likeness or resemblance to the Blessed Trinity. This likeness, however, is by no means a perfect one, for there can be no perfect likeness to that which is a mystery. In what, then, does this likeness consist? In this, that as in one God there are three Persons, so in the one soul of man there are three powers. The next answer tells you what these powers are; they are the understanding, the memory, and the will. The understanding is that power of the soul which enables us to think, to reason, to learn, and to know. The memory makes us able to call to mind what we have before learned; and the will gives us the power of choosing what we will do, for example, whether we will sit or stand, speak or be silent, &c. Thus, when a boy learns easily and well what is taught him, we say that he has a clever understanding; when he easily forgets what he has learnt, we say that he has a bad memory; and when he is always bent on evil, choosing it rather than good, we say that he has a perverse will. Now these three powers, as you know, belong to the soul, for it is not the body that thinks, remembers, or chooses. In this much, then, is the soul like to the Blessed Trinity, that, while the soul is one and cannot be divided, it possesses three distinct powers, as God, who is one, exists in three distinct Persons. But it falls short of being like the Blessed Trinity in this, that each of the Persons in God is God, whole and entire; but each of the powers of the soul is not the soul itself, but only a power or faculty which the soul possesses.

Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Blessed Trinity

O eternal God! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the beginning and end of all things; in whom we live and move and have our being; prostrate before Thee in body and soul, I adore Thee. I bless Thee and give Thee thanks. What return can I make to Thee, O God, for all that Thou hast done for me? I will bless Thy Holy Name, and serve Thee all the days of my life. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless His Holy Name. Amen.

by Very Rev. Dean Kinane, 1920

" To St. Patrick, a model of resignation to God's holy will, for six years a captive slave, under a cruel master, on the hills of Antrim;

To St. Patrick, obedient to the call of God, "the voice of the Irish," to evangelize the Irish nation;

To St. Patrick, absorbed for years in prayer and study, "the science of the Saints," in the great schools on the Continent, preparing for his heavenly mission;

To St. Patrick, sent by Pope St. Celestine, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to spread the light of the Gospel to the Irish nation;

To St. Patrick, the perfect model of the most exalted spirit of prayer and penance;

To St. Patrick, whose firm faith, was like St. Peter's, and whose burning zeal was like St. Paul's;

To St. Patrick, whose unique privilege was, that alone and single-handed, he converted a whole nation, not only to Christianity, but to the highest practices of the Evangelical counsels.

To St. Patrick, who watched over and preserved the purity of the faith of the Irish race, at home and abroad;

To St. Patrick, the glorious and ever-beloved Apostle of Ireland;

On our own, and on behalf of our dear race at home and beyond the seas;

In thanksgiving for all graces received through his intercession;

In reparation for all sins committed, and graces abused;

In petition for the preservation of the purity of faith and morals until the Day of Judgment;

This little book is most humbly, most reverentially, and most affectionately dedicated.

This book also contains a commentary on
St. Patrick's Confession and the Epistle of St. Patrick

Download the book, "St. Patrick: His Life, His Heroic Virtues, His Labours, and the Fruits of His Labours"

Pious Reflection from St. Patrick: His Life, His Heroic Virtues, His Labours, and the Fruits of His Labours

My soul! How wonderful is God in His Saints! All Apostles, destined to bring into the fold of Jesus Christ, pagan nations, are endowed by God with, special gifts and graces; with extraordinary sanctity of life; and with the power of working wonders. Extraordinary spirit of prayer and penance, joined with unbounded confidence in God, were the special grace of our beloved Apostle St. Patrick. The stupendous miracles that followed his footsteps proved him to be God's messenger; and opened the eyes and hearts of his hearers to the Gospel of Salvation.

A captive youth on the hills of Antrim, amid frost and snow, a hundred times by day and night on bended knee he adored God. "I remained," he says, " in the woods, and upon the mountains, and before the dawn I was called to prayer by the snow, the ice, and rain, and I did not suffer from them."

As we have seen, when about to storm the centres and strongholds of idolatry, in Slane, Tara, the Plain of Adoration, as well as the courts of the King of Connaught, days and nights, before the battle, were spent in prayer and penance. We have seen his confidence in God, and the mighty miracles wrought in the above places, for the conversion of the pagan.

My soul! For forty days and forty nights, on Croagh Patrick, in prayer and penance, he laid siege to Heaven itself, and obtained, as by violence from the Almighty Himself, wonderful graces and favours for the Irish race, present and future, living and unborn, at home and abroad.
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