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Saint Patrick

From Wales; c. 387 – 17 March, 493
Patron Saint of Ireland
Feast Day - 17th March

3 2us by Canon Pat Browne       

"When Patrck was alone on those hillsides, Slemish it was in County Armagh, he had noone to turn to for help but God. Patrick found God in his loneliness there. In fact Patrick needed those 6 years to mature, because at the end of the them he had become what we might call a holy man. He eventually escaped and found his way back to Wales. He became a priest and then a bishop. He writes in his Confessions: 'After I had come to Ireland, I daily used to feed cattle, and I prayed frequently during the day. The love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and faith became stronger and the spirit was stirred, so that in 1 day I said about 100 prayers and in the night nearly the same. So that I used even to remain in the woods and in the mountains; before daylight I used to rise to prayer through snow, frost and rain, and I felt no harm, nor was there any slothfulness in me as I now perceive because the spirit was then fervent within me.'"

Saint Patrick's Confession

(38-40): I am greatly indebted to God who has granted to me so great a grace that “many peoples” have been born anew to God through me… “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth”… This is how I want to “wait for the promise” of him who never fails, as he assures us in the Gospel: “They will come from East and West and will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” So we are confident that believers will come from the whole world.

This is why we should apply ourselves diligently to the catch as we ought to do, following the exhortation and teaching of the Lord who said: “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” And again, he said through the prophets: “Look! I will send many fishermen and hunters.” This is why it was so important to cast our nets so that “a great number [of fish]”, “a crowd” of people might be caught for God and that everywhere there might be priests according to the word of the Lord: “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” ....

(56-62 conclusion): So “I will entrust my soul to my most faithful God” (1Pt 4,19), whom I serve here as his “ambassador” (Eph 6,20) in spite of my shortcomings - but God doesn't use the world's standards in such matters. He chose me for this job - me, one of the least of his servants (Mt 25,40) - to be his assistant. “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done to me?” (Ps 116[115],12). But what can I say or do for God? Everything I can do comes from him...

So may God never permit me to be separated from his people “whom he formed for himself” (Is 43,21), here at the end of the earth. I pray that God will give me perseverance and allow me to be a faithful witness for him until I die. If have ever done anything worthwhile for the God I love, I ask that I might be allowed to die here for his name with these converts and slaves... I know if that were to happen, I would gain my soul along with a new body on that day we will undoubtedly rise again like the sun in the morning, like the son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

My final prayer is that all of you who believe in God and respect him, whoever you may be who read this letter that Patrick, the unlearned sinner, wrote from Ireland, that none of you will ever say that I, in my ignorance, did anything for God. You must understand - because it is the truth - that it was all the gift of God. And this is my confession before I die.