St. Patrick could have been considered one of those rejected cornerstones in today’s Gospel: a Scottish boy sold into slavery at 16, converted while a shepherd, who didn’t travel to bring Christianity to Ireland until he was 40 years old.

A boy praying and tending sheep in the fields, however, became one of the most well-known missionaries in western Europe.  As we are eating corned beef and wearing green today, we might also spend some time considering the ways we can take to heart St. Patrick’s words in his Confessio:

“One should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear.”

May our prayer this St. Patrick’s Day be for the strength to proceed—without holding back from danger— to make known the gift of God.

—Catherine Ruffing Drotleff serves as the Director of Development for the Ignatian Spirituality Project.