Of mind and bodyBy William Tamulonis
Around the year 400, pirates dragged away a 16-year-old boy from Wales and sold him as a slave to a cruel Druid chieftain in Northern Ireland. One day, while herding pigs, the boy began reciting Bible verses that his father had taught him, and the rest is history. “In a strange land,” he wrote, “the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes and I was converted.” After six years, St. Patrick fled Ireland stowed away in the bowels of a ship, only to return to Ireland as a missionary.
These were the dark ages of the Roman Empire, after the barbarians had destroyed much of Roman civilization, including the texts of many great writings from the Scriptures, Plato, Augustine, and Aristotle. Patrick began his missionary work by introducing the Irish to written language. Over the next 29 years, he baptized over 120,000 Celts, established at least 300 churches, and started the monks on a 100-year mission to copy and preserve every piece of western literature they could find. Hence, the title of Thomas Cahill’s book, How the Irish Saved Civilization.
St. Patrick was not only about head knowledge. He understood that mind, body, and soul are all included in the redemptive process. Living faith did not stop at his neck but compelled his entire body, which explains why he risked his life daily in a pagan culture; fought against human trafficking; and kept Mescan, his personal brewmaster, at his side. After all, “God causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil…” (Psalms 104:14-15).
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace,” Patrick prayed. Clapham Institute President Mike Metzger encourages us to emulate Patrick’s full-bodied faith, which worked to build the kingdom of God and enjoyed it as well: “Bodiless faith has the same appeal as the best-selling beer in America—Bud Light. Americans apparently prefer a beer with little body….Any believer can acquire a taste for a faith with no body, but what’s the point if it’s only less filling?”
Write to me at 703 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville, MD 21228, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.