St. Patrick; “The Confession of St. Patrick.”
St Patrick’s confession was taken from the very words of a person who could not believe he could be used as a channel for God’s word. He sites that he was not among the very learned people that had the power to assimilate both the law and the Holy Scriptures without faltering their idioms since infancy (Patrick, p3). This shows one that the Lord does not require learned people to fulfill his prophesies but humble people willing to carry out his will without questioning his integrity. He took up the word after being taken captive and was willing t go all the way back to preach it to his folks men without fear. From this, we learn form St. Patrick that there are no hurdles that the Lord cannot remove. Despite there being people that could read the word to perfection, he was chosen among the captives to spread it. He says that the Lord chose a wretch like him who would face the people that Christ had love for without any fear or complaint but with a great deal of faith, reverence and humility. That is what God desires of us according to St. Patrick (Ibid, p3).
St. Patrick was a very humble man. He was taken captive but still believed in the Lord God for protection and delivery from the powers of his captors. The story of his caption and release is a way of telling people how they can be saved from their iniquities if only they believe in the Lord God and do according to the way he wills. When they were traveling with the barbarians, he categorically states that he did not have to suck their breasts for the fear he had in God. Form this, we see that he was a God fearing man who was ready to do anything that he was commanded by god through the prophesies that came to him in form of dreams. He was a prayerful man that always found time to say his prayers. He states that he prayed a hundred payers during the day and a like number during the night. He shows the people of Ireland that prayer is a through way to hearing from the Almighty God and a way of getting what they want here on earth. From page 5, we see that he convinces the barbarians to turn to God and they got food to fill their hungry stomachs. It is recorded that they had abundant shares for along while. His main idea is to let the people know that there is a God who provides for all their needs and there is a God who will never let them down if they earnestly call unto him. If at all the barbarians could turn and praise the Lord, then anyone could do the same. It only required them to be converted to God with all their heart. He also mentions in p.6 that the lord provided them with food on their journey as they travelled through uninhabited land for ten days until they met civilization.
He gives an account of the devil’s attack from where a rock fell on him and no one else could assist him. Instead of calling on the Almighty God for assistance, he called on Helias and waited for help from him. However, with just the brilliance of the sun, all the eight was suddenly gone. This brings out the power that the Lord God has over those that trust him. St. Patrick brings out the clear picture of who God is to those that trust in him. When the spirit comes to one’s rescue, it does so without delay. If only we believe in the mighty power of that presence, then our iniquities will be forgiven. When the power of the spirit is in us, then we can face the tribulations that come up whenever we are in trial. If at all believers expect from the lord just like St. Patrick did, then the world in which we live in will be free of any wrong doings.
The power of believe and the power of salvation are manifested when he was captured and rebuked by his kinsfolk for contradicting himself. He was being judged from the utterances he made before he saw the light or accepted that there was a true God. Form this, he brings out two things. First, the world will always be ready to shun you from your target just to have you recant your beliefs. Then secondly, they are willing to humiliate you for believing in God but God does not forget those that he has anointed. The most important part in this is that the lord takes the believers side and grants him the strength to defeat all his enemies. He was granted courage that saw him gain the strength to set out and work for the lord just like Jesus did. God des not leave his own to suffer for him. He stays with them until they are set free and his name is glorified for the sake of righteousness. God always makes his own victorious just to put to shame those that disgrace his chosen ones.
He portrays the picture of a friend, here on earth who betrays him even after being a close confidant to him and sharing a secret with him (Ibid, p.9). However, God in heaven, who is utmost unseen, stood by him despite the rebuke, slavery, captivity and hunger that St. Patrick went through. God revealed to him that he could at anytime rely on him and trust Him implicitly and forever as his love and trust were boundless and timeless for those devoted to serve Him. He shows St. Patrick that he is not like the ordinary men who base their trust on the circumstances that surround them at that moment. No matter how much we trust those that are close to us, we need to place our ultimate trust in the one that neither finds faults with us nor reveals our innermost secrets confided in him in secrecy.
He credits himself with having brought Christianity to Ireland. Since his captives took him, he was always guided by God’s prophesy towards the reviving of the country that was once a hub of idols, and unclean things. He proves that only God can save people from the problems of this world. He shows that the Lord is the only refuge even if we take different sides and seek different modes of solving our earthly problems. So far, it is the lord that has enabled him to reach to where he is and to also establish Faith in a place where there was none. It was during this period that he boasts of having baptized a beautiful, blessed and native-born noble Irish woman who turned out to be a princess. She had received a prophecy that urged her to take up the virgin of Christ teachings and become one of them. The lord can use anyone to spread his word to all who are near and far. The princess was a noble not expected to take up roles like that of the virgin of Christ. However, that does not stop the almighty from using her as a vessel of honor to spread the message to others who have not yet believed. He wanted to show St. Patrick that despite the many persecutions one might face; the ultimate goal is to please He who that lives up above and not the ones that are on earth.
Since the time he was taken captive, St. Patrick became one of the most powerful ministers of the word in an area that was inhabited by myths and legends. It was difficult for the people to accept Christ due to the myths that tied them to their traditional beliefs. Wealth and education were the ultimate targets of all individuals and the word was left to those in learned families to translate the word for those that were still uneducated. We see the author taking his illiteracy as a challenge as he could not get anyone to listen to him when he preached and taught the word. The most important thing is that he was ale to overcome this by the love of God and go far and wide to proclaim God’s glory. We also note that Ireland was ruled by a monarch. In p. 13, he tells of a noble whom he baptized. This shows how the rulers were held I high esteem such that it was pride for St. Patrick to have baptized her.
Historically, we note that they took to herding and shipping as a form of economic activity. When he was in exile, he used a ship to return to his home country and the barbarians were the main seamen. He shows us how their morality was decadent when he says that for the love of God, he did not have to suck the breasts of those men just to find favor with them (ibid. p.5). He also stipulates that when he was herding his flock, he used to pray a hundred times and a like number during the night. This brings out the traditional form of survival for those that were poor and could not gunner enough resources to go to school. When his friend betrays him, we are introduced to the way judgment was carried out in ancient Ireland. The word of mouth was very much trusted to pass judgment on an individual. He also tells of the severity of punishment for going against the law of the land at that moment. Friendship was also considered as an important aspect of socialization among the people of ancient Ireland. They valued friends just as they would value their family.
He is portrayed as being a very humble person who was only ignorant of what was going on in the society despite having a deacon as his father. He was among those that were so much stuck in unbelief that they spared no time for the one that created them. They did not listen to the voices of the chosen men of god who preached to them daily for them to leave their sinful life and accept the way of Christ. He was naïve before he saw the light and accepted Christ as his savior. In addition, he viewed himself as being inferior and undeserving of God’s grace. From his confession, we note that he was illiterate and left the learning process be bestowed to children of the rich and not him. He grew up learning to herd flock, not knowing that he would turn to shepherd the people of God.
From this confession, we learn a great deal for the life of St. Patrick. First, we should never underestimate the potential that lies within us. Secondly, despite your level of education, humility of the heart always finds favor with the lord. Another thing is that despite your position in this world, the lord can use you to bring more sheep into his flock. No matter where you are at the moment, there will be no obstacle hindering God from accomplishing his will through you.
Patrick. St. (c. 390-c. 461) the Confession of St. Patrick, Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, p. 1-16.