Let us Lectio: That God may be glorified
Feast of St. Patrick, March 17
Steps to Lectio Divina
Start by using these steps to reflect on the Scripture verse. Then read my meditation slowly.
Lectio: Having asked for the grace to hear God's word, read the passage twice.
Meditatio: During the second reading, pause whenever so moved and reflect on a word, a sentence, or an image that strikes you.
Oratio: Speak directly to God, and open your reflection to Him.
Contemplatio: Listen contemplatively for any response God might choose to make. Remember that God responds to us at times with loving silence.
Gospel from the Sanctoral reading for the Feast of St. Patrick, (Luke 5:1-11)
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God he was standing by the Lake of Gennasaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake; The fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they had caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of tearing.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
There are many tales and legends of this “apostle to the Irish” but perhaps the most significant one is how the relationship between Patrick and this once-heathen people began.
St. Patrick was born into a Christian family in England. By the age of sixteen, Patrick was captured and enslaved by pirates, living in Ireland for six years, where he learned the language and culture. Although raised in a Christian household, he did not grow intently in his relationship with God until his time of bondage and isolation, which ultimately led to his re-conversion to Christianity. Shortly after escaping his slavery, he went into formation for the priesthood, planning to return to Ireland in order to bring Christ to a people who had virtually no knowledge of Him.
In the Gospel reading, Simon accomplishes nothing on his own. It is only when he follows the instructions of Jesus that he is able to catch the fish, and at a miraculous amount. It is made clear in the scripture that Peter is an expert fisherman. Jesus, who is a carpenter by trade and not a fisherman, gives him a new way of going about this task. Peter, in this first recorded encounter with Christ, recognizes who was speaking and he trusts Jesus’ instruction even though it seems contrary to what Peter may have thought. Here, Peter trusts in God’s wisdom and plan. Above all, he trusts that it is God’s mission and God’s work to accomplish.
In the same way St. Patrick does not rely on his own wisdom and strength, or even his own eloquence. Patrick was highly successful in his missionary efforts not by his own wisdom or greatness but because he put out into deep water and entrusted the work to the Lord rather than his own abilities. He preached the faith. He did the Lord’s will. His preaching was, therefore, not his words but God’s. He trusted not his own strength but rather the strength that only God supplies. And that trust and reliance on God’s will is what ultimately won over the Irish.
We are called to follow the example of St. Patrick. So especially in this Lenten season, whatever gifts we are given — whether it be the gift of leadership or the gregariousness that can infectiously welcome other to Christ — let it be for the sake of the Body of Christ and for the glory of God.
Callie Nowlin, MTS, is a regular contributor to the North Texas Catholic.
Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.