In April she will lead a group on a trip to Ireland and Scotland where each participant will certainly be changed forever as they encounter God while visiting ancient wells of Celtic revival. Disappointed to see that the deadline for signing up for this trip has already passed, I have arranged with her to extend her deadline to March 21, 2011 for readers of The Rising Light so that any of you who feels excited by this opportunity of a lifetime can get signed up.
For those of you who don’t feel led to go on this two week trip yourself, I would encourage you to be a blessing to the family of God and help make it possible for one of our brothers or sisters to go by making a contribution towards the cost of this lifechanging visit to these Celtic lands of revival.
Since St. Patrick’s Day is now approaching, I would like to share with you some of the wonderful miracles that God did through Saint Patrick’s obedience. Kathie Walters has kindly given me permission to share several portions from her chapter covering the miracles in the life of Saint Patrick as recorded in Celtic Flames. I trust that you will be quite blessed and encouraged as you realize that the same power at work in the life of Saint Patrick is also available to each one of us since we are baptized into the same Spirit.
Patrick, and The King Of Tara and His Druidic Wizards.
Finally God provided a way for Patrick to return to Ireland in 432 A.D. So the ministry to the Irish began, not without opposition from the Druids and wizards who tried desperately to keep Patrick away from the kings, for they had prophesied of his coming. Patrick believed that if the kings could be won for God, then the people would follow. One of the first spiritual battles between Patrick and the Druids was fought at the Hill of Tara in 433 A.D.
The High King, Laeghaire (Leary), son of the renowned Niall of the Nine Hostages, had invited the sub-kings and nobles and bards to a lavish festival. It was to start with great bonfires, but until those fires were lit by the Druids, it was forbidden for other fires to be seen. King Laeghaire, in his efforts to hold his power over the lower kings had given himself to the power of the wizards, and skillful magicians and Druidic priests along with their idols.
Lochru, and Lucat-Mael, were his chief wizards, and being false prophets they had foretold that “An evil teacher would come from over the sea to their land: That a multitude would receive him, and that he would find love and reverence from the men of Ireland. He would cast out from their realms the evil kings and lords, and would destroy all the idols; the worship established by him, would abide in the land for ever.” No doubt the Druids knew of the progress of Christianity in Britain and Europe. Their brethren abroad had been discredited and they were afraid of the same fate. They were very much afraid of losing their influence and authority.
Patrick leaving the friendly hospitality of Dichu, sailed southward and arrived at Inver Colptha, the mouth of the river Boyne. They followed the course of the stream, for about 12 miles until they came to the hill of Slane, where Patrick proposed to celebrate Easter.
While they rested there on the hill, they saw the magnificent view beneath of the river Boyne; to the north, far away were the purple mountains of Mourne, and to the south lay the beautiful hills of Wicklow. Against this background, about 10 miles away, stood the royal hill of Tara. The roofs of the palaces shining in the setting sun. When the sun had set, Patrick began to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. It was the first time the paschal fire was lit, never to be extinguished in the land.
Hardly were the Christian torches seen to blaze, when the attention of the High King was drawn to the progidy. The whole of Mag Breg, (the Beautiful Plain), was illuminated by the fires, while Tara was still in darkness.
Angrily the King called his attendants and told them to find out who had dared to light the fires, and break the law he had made for the occasion of the festivals of Beltane and Samhain.
The Druids told King Laeghaire that there was no need to send messengers to Slane for they knew what the fires were. “We see the fire,” they said, “And we know that unless it is quenched on the night in which it is made, it will not be quenched for ever. The man who kindled it, will vanquish the kings and lords of Ireland, unless he is stopped.” “This shall not be!” cried the king, “but we will go down and kill this man who made the fires.” The horses were hastily made ready.
Meanwhile on the hill of Slane, Patrick had begun with the others the celebration of the Easter festival, singing and worshiping God. Demons hovered over Tara, while the Angelic host kept guard over Slane. Patrick, with Victorious, (the Angel who was the guardian of Ireland)*, had no need to fear for the result of the contest. It was late when nine chariots, bearing the king and queen with two chief Druids, and a number of nobles came thundering toward Slane. The wizards began to fear that the king might fail by taking a hasty action. As they drew toward the Christians, the Druid wizards spoke to King Laeghaire, “You should be careful,” they cautioned the king, “Not to go down to the place where the fire was made, and give any respect to the man who kindled the fire. Stay outside and have him brought out to you, so that he will know that you are the king, and he is the subject.” The king was flattered and agreed.
They drove to the place called, “The Graves of Fiacc’s Men,” and they un-yoked the horses. The king and his nobles sat in solemn state, and the warriors stood with their shields erect in front of them. In the light of the fires they looked very fierce. The king forbade anyone to rise to greet Patrick or any of his company, (contrary to the custom of the Irish). A messenger was sent to fetch Patrick.
Soon a bright procession appeared descending the hill. As Patrick advanced, all eyes were fixed on him. Calmly he sang as he approached the king, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will call upon the Name of the Lord our God,” (don’t you love this?). As Patricks clear strong voice resounded, a feeling of awe filed the minds of the warriors. One man. Erc, the son of Deg, rose to greet Patrick. By grace, in a moment, he believed in God; and Patrick blessed him. Later on he was baptized and eventually became the first bishop of Slane. And Patrick prophesied to him, “Your city on earth will be high and noble.”
After a “formal” greeting between Laeghaire and Patrick, the wizard Lochru attacked him angrily with contention and shouting. He became malicious and hostile, and even violent, blaspheming the Holy Trinity. Patricks anger was roused and he called upon God, “O Lord, Who can do all things. And on Whose power everything depends, You have sent us here to preach Your Name to the heathen. Now let this ungodly man, who blasphemes your Name, be lifted up and let him die.” When Patrick had finished speaking, a supernatural force raised the wizard in the air. He fell heavily down, his head striking a stone. And so he died in the presence of those assembled. The heathen seeing their own subdued, and realizing that Patrick had more power than the Druids, were greatly affected. But the king was enraged at the fate of Lochru, on whom he had greatly depended. He then wanted to take the life of Patrick. “Slay this man,” he cried to his guards.
But Patrick stood firmly in his place. With flashing eyes and resonant voice he said, “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Him, flee from before His face! As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” By this time the sun had begun to rise and the morning splendor bathed the earth. But at the words of Patrick, darkness crept back over the sky and the ground shook with an earthquake. The swords and spears of the warriors clashed against their shields and it seemed to them that sky was falling down, and there was no hope of escape from impending destruction. The frightened horses galloped away in wild confusion, and the wind blew so fiercely that the chariots were moved.
Because of the confusion and fear, the warriors began to fight among themselves, and some were killed. Realizing their mistake, they fled, leaving only three people with King Laeghaire and Queen Angas. The king remained sullen and silent but the queen rose and approached Patrick. She spoke to him with respect. “Just and mighty man,” she said, “Do not destroy the king. He shall come to you and he will do your will and he will kneel and believe in your God,” Her influence prevailed and because the events of the past few hours had shaken him, the king kneeled before Patrick, offering peace. It was a false gesture, designed to allow him to avoid the present situation. Laehaire designed a plan in his mind to try and kill Patrick on the way to his castle. “Follow after me, to my castle, Cleric,” said the wily king, “And at Tara I may believe in your God in the presence of the men of Ireland.”
Patrick consented and Laeghire gave orders to his servants that an ambush should be set on several paths between Slane to Tara. The chariots were yoked once more by the attendant who had now returned, and the royal party set out back to the palace. They were very weary and discouraged after their disastrous night with Patrick and his company continued the interrupted Easter Day celebration with hearts full of gratitude to the risen Lord, who was so wonderful to them. Then Patrick selected his companions and blessed them before setting out for Tara. There were eight young clerics, including Patrick, and the boy, Benignus, who never left Patricks side. They had ten miles to walk, “but God covered them with cloak of darkness” so that they could not be seen, for God had revealed to Patrick the evil design on the king.
Nevertheless the heathen as they watched saw only eight deer and a fawn (Benignus). It was after this that Patrick wrote his famous hymn, “The Deer’s Cry,” in which he gave God praise and expressed his firm belief in the Resurrection, the Incarnation and, Death and Ascension of Christ. He united with the citizens of heaven, declaring glory to Him who is his defense against the wiles of the devil and against all forms of superstition and idolatry; ending with an appeal to Christ to be with him always and speak to him through every creature.
Meanwhile King Laeghaire was sitting in grief and shame in the banqueting hall of Tara, together with the nobles, bards and wizards who had escaped from the events of the previous night. The thought that in his terror he had knelt in front of Patrick overwhelmed him with humiliation. He waited anxiously of news that his snares had been successful and that the disturber of his peace, (Patrick) was no more! As it was a day of high festival, and however angry he was, he still had to show hospitality to his invited guests. The hall was decked with festive banners and the noble company sat down to the tables with their minds full of the strange events of the previous night, and no other conversation was broached. “I will go to Tara,” Patrick had replied to the king, when Laeghaire offered the invitation, “In order to manifest my readiness to the men of Ireland.”
A Quick Way To Evangelize A City or How St. Patrick Won Dublin (Patrick A.D. 389-461)
As Patrick came near to Dublin, at that time a small village, he prophesied, “That village which is now very small shall hereafter become very eminent. it shall be enlarged in riches and dignity.” Neither shall it cease to grow until it has become the principal seat of all the kingdom.”
When the people of Dublin, having heard of the great signs and miracles that were done through Patrick, and when they saw that he was coming to that village, they went out to meet him.
At this time, Alphinus was the king over Dublin. He and all the citizens were in great sorrow, for the death of the kings two children. The kings only son, called Eochadh had died a natural death, in his bedroom. The king’s daughter, and a sister to the young prince, had just been drowned, in the adjoining river, now known as the Liffey.
She had ventured into the deep part, for the purpose of bathing. Her name was Dublinia, and from her Dublin is thought to have derived its name. (Joceylyn note) The young lady’s body was drawn out of the waters after some considerable search, and laid by her brother’s corpse, in order that their funeral rites might be solemnized together.
According to the superstition of the pagans, the tombs were prepared. In the meantime, news was spread over all the city, that “St. Patrick, the potent reviver of many dead persons”, (What a reputation !!) had been seen in the town. For He, who burst asunder the gates of death and of hell, smoothed the path for his servant.
The king and the people, who before had said to the Lord, “depart from us, we will not the knowledge any of thy ways,” were so cast down, saddened with grief, that all of their rebellion and all their barbarous rudeness, and all the pride of their idolatry, were utterly subdued.
The king, hearing of St. Patrick’s arrival, greatly rejoiced, and caused him to come in, where his two children lay dead. He then promised, with all those present, if God restored his children to life, that he and all the citizens would become Christians. Seeing such a gain of souls, in the sight of the king, his nobles, and all the common people, Patrick raised from death to life those princely children, whose bodily resurrection co-operated much towards the spiritual resurrection of their father, with the rest of his people. The king and all his subjects, being astonished at this great miracle, turned away from the worship of idols, and they were baptized in the well (spring). From that day the King and all the people worshiped God and gave liberally to Patrick, so that he was able to give to the poor in that place and other places and have enough to build churches.
(Ref. Lives of the Irish Saints -O’Hanlon. Ecclesiatical History of Ireland, Rev. Dr. Lanigan. Sexta Vita S. Patricii, Joycelin notes.)
Patrick and The Kings Daughters
Patrick and his companions arrived in the early morning at Tulsk, in the county of Roscommon. As they sat down near the fountain known as Clibach they were approached by the two daughters of King Leogaire, who were intending to bathe in the fountain. Seeing the young clerics with their books in front of them, the young women wondered at the strange sight so early in the morning.
The two women, Eithne and Feidelm, inquired of Patrick as to what race he was from and where he had come presently come from. “Are you some kind of gods?” asked Eithne. “It is better for you to ask about our God than to inquire as to our race,” said Patrick. “Where is God to be found, is He under the earth? or in the streams? Or in the hills and valleys?’ asked Eithne. “Is He beautiful and to be loved? How is He to be found?” she continued.
Patrick, full of the Holy Spirit replied, “Our God is the God over all, of heaven and earth: the God of the seas and rivers: the God of the sun and moon and stars: the God of the high mountains and lowly valleys; He quickens all things, He gives the light to the sun and moon, He created the waters in dry land, He places islands in the middle of the sea, and placed the stars in the heavens.” Patrick went on tell of God’s son – Jesus. The two sisters being of one heart cried out and said, “Our only desire to see Him face to face.” Patrick baptized both women and loved Christ with all their hearts – for they had sought the true God for a long time.
Shortly after both sisters died. Two druids, Mael and Caplait entered into a great conflict with Patrick over this, as the youngest daughter was the foster-daughter of Caplait. Patrick preached the gospel to Caplait and he became a believer to the great anger of the other druid, Mael. “I will win him back to our gods and cause him to leave you,” he said to Patrick. Patrick with great patience preached and reasoned with him until he also gave his heart to God.
Patrick continued to travel and preach to every town and village with many miracles and signs and wonders.
Patrick’s Fast and Petitions For Ireland
Patrick went to a high mountain in the range of Mayo in order to seek God and to fast and pray. For 40 days he fasted with watching and prayers and travail. Toward the end of the fast, the mountain was surrounded by many demons in the form of large black birds, screaming and giving off a foul smell. Patrick continued singing Psalms and hymns to no avail. Finally Patrick threw his bell at the birds and commanded the to leave. They left and immediately he was surrounded by an angelic choir. Also the angel who was always Patricks companion, Victor, came and said, “Everything you select shall be yours, every land – both hills and valleys, glens and woods. Every petition shall be granted.”
Patricks first petition was that every Irish man, woman and child would have opportunity to hear the Gospel and secondly, that barbarian invaders should not prevail against the Irish people. Victor commanded Patrick to get down from the mountain, but Patrick refused until every petition he asked was granted. Patrick contnued to ask for many blessings for Ireland.