On the wall of a good friend (for whom today is also a Name Day), I found the following link:
The Confessio of St. Patrick of Ireland
I just finished reading it and wanted to point a few things about this Apostle to the pagans of Ireland. He opens his letter by identifying himself as a sinner, the very first thing he mentions about himself. How many Saints do we see that bewail and descry their sinfulness and identify as being worse of sinners, yet were so holy that the Church declares them Saints? If these people saw themselves as sinners in spite of the virtue they showed throughout their lives, how much more should we see ourselves as sinners?
These words of St. Patrick of Ireland are so full of humility and joy in the Lord, it's comforting. He speaks of his lowliness being born poor and taken into slavery and the many trials of his life. In humility, he speaks of how he rightfully suffered on account of his sinfulness:
"My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many... ...At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God, and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved. The Lord brought his strong anger upon us, and scattered us among many nations even to the ends of the earth. It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was."
One of the strongest paragraphs of his letter is the following:
"This is because there is no other God, nor will there ever be, nor was there ever, except God the Father. He is the one who was not begotten, the one without a beginning, the one from whom all beginnings come, the one who holds all things in being – this is our teaching. And his son, Jesus Christ, whom we testify has always been, since before the beginning of this age, with the father in a spiritual way. He was begotten in an indescribable way before every beginning. Everything we can see, and everything beyond our sight, was made through him. He became a human being; and, having overcome death, was welcomed to the heavens to the Father. The Father gave him all power over every being, both heavenly and earthly and beneath the earth. Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God. He is judge of the living and of the dead; he rewards every person according to their deeds. He has generously poured on us the Holy Spirit, the gift and promise of immortality, who makes believers and those who listen to be children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This is the one we acknowledge and adore – one God in a trinity of the sacred name."
What a beautiful and profound exclamation of the Mystery of the Triune God! All the Truths of the Holy Catholic Church of Jesus Christ proceed from the knowledge of the Blessed Trinity and St. Patrick of Ireland enthusiastically and faithfully delivered this Gospel to the pagans and heathens of Ireland. Our salvation has its origin the knowledge of the Godhead and belief in the unity of the Three Divine Persons, and because we are members of Christ's Body, the Church, we are incorporated through the Sacrament of Baptism into the Life of this Godhead.
|St. Patrick of Ireland|
This Confessio also serves as a brief autobiography in parts, but overall it is a hymn to the greatness and glory of God. We should all strive to imitate the holy Patrick of Ireland, who placed full trust in the Lord our God. His faith was strong and firm, and his witness fruitful. He performed many miracles in the sight of many and converted a whole nation to Christianity. It was Pope St. Celestine I who sent St. Patrick to Ireland to bring those there to Christ and the Saint was faithful to his mission. He was fearless and courageous and even though his life was threatened countless times and he was held captive and prisoner, he did not flinch or give up.
The great thing is that he attributes none of the wonderful things God did through him to himself. He gives all credit and honor to God Who is the Author of all. St. Patrick saw nothing that he did as being great in the Eyes of God, but only saw it as being obedient to what he was called to do. In spite of his simplicity and ignorance (in the world's standards), he knew Holy Scripture very well (evident in his Confessio) and had great knowledge of the Church Fathers. He may have been ignorant to the world, but he thrived in the wisdom of God.
He was a bishop, therefore a Successor of the Holy Apostles and a defender of the Faith, as well as one to whom God, through the Church, gave charge over the souls of many under his flock. Bishops are our shepherds and are responsible for our spiritual well-being and possess the fullness of the priesthood. I pray that our bishops stay mindful of this as they make decisions in their sees (dioceses) and always look out for the best interest of us, the faithful.
I am so glad that I chose him as one of my patrons whose name I bear since my reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation where I received the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost and completed my baptismal initiation into Christ's Church. I pray that St. Patrick of Ireland help me to follow his example in piety and courage, and that through his intercession, I have the same zeal for the Faith that he had. As of yet, I have not been successful in converting anyone to Catholicism, guess I'll keep trying...
Later in the day I'll be offering some prayers to the Saint to more greatly honor him on this day and my prayers particularly go out for the Irish people everywhere they may be, for the well-being both spiritual and temporal of their country, and for all those stricken by snake bites.
St. Patrick of Ireland, pray for us!
Click here for more information on St. Patrick of Ireland