Who is this man Patrick, who came among us (from another place) and whom we have never forgotten? A man who suffered a turbulent and challenging journey through experiencing at times hunger, isolation, separation and imprisonment, doubting often his own capacity and ability to act – but certain of the hand of God and his protection. What better way to discover who he was and how he lived than from his own words:
“ ….for twenty eight days we travelled through a wilderness. Food ran out, and great hunger came over [us]. The captain turned to me and said: “What about this, Christian? You tell us that your God is great and all-powerful – why can’t you pray for us, since we’re in a bad state with hunger? There’s no sign of us finding a human being anywhere!”
Then I said to them with some confidence: “Turn in faith with all your hearts to the Lord my God, because nothing is impossible for him so that he may put food in your way – even enough to make you fully satisfied! He has an abundance everywhere.”
With the help of God, this is actually what happened!
Patrick also wrote:
” … it is right to make known the gift of God and his eternal consolation. It is right to spread abroad the name of God faithfully and without fear, so that even after my death I may leave something of value to the many thousands of my brothers and sisters – the children whom I baptised in the Lord”.
Today on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) let us find the best way to celebrate his life and ours, his life in ours.
“Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig dhuit!”
Tradition holds that Patrick was enslaved as a youth, and tended sheep for about six years, from the ages of 16 to 22. It was during this time that Patrick discovered God, and turned to him in frequent prayer as his only consolation in his loneliness. In a vision he was encouraged to escape and return home. Our copies of the writings of Patrick are in “manuscript” – hand-written. There are eight manuscripts in existence. The oldest (807 A.D.) is in the Book of Armagh in Trinity College, Dublin. Nowadays, we usually think of a “confession” as when a person acknowledges some guilt for wrongdoing. An older use has other meanings. The ‘Confession of St. Patrick’ is mostly about the telling of the greatness of God as Patrick has experienced it in his own life, despite all his limitations.