About St. Patrick

Confessions of Saint Patrick

I, Patrick, a sinner, the rudest and the least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to very many, had for my father Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a presbyter, who dwelt in the village Bannavem Taburniæ, for he had a small farm hard by the place where I was taken captive. I was then nearly sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; and I was taken to Ireland in captivity with so many thousand men, in accordance with our deserts, because we departed from God, and we kept not his percepts, and were not obedient to our priests, who admonished us for our salvation. And the Lord brought down upon us "the wrath of his indignation" and dispersed us among many nations, even to the end of the earth, where now my littleness is seen among foreigners.

And there the Lord opened to me the sense of my unbelief, that, though late, I might remember my sins, and that I might return with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who had respect to my humiliation, and pitied my youth and ignorance, and took care of me before I knew Him and before I had wisdom, or could discern between good and evil; and protected me and comforted me as a father does a son.

Whereas I cannot keep silent- nor is it indeed expedient to do so - concerning such great benefits, and such great favor as the Lord has vouchsafed to me in the Land of my captivity; because this is our recompense to Him that after our chastening or knowledge of God, we should exalt and confess His wonderful works before every nation which is under the whole heaven.

Be ye astonished therefore, both great and small who fear God. And ye rhetoricians, who do not know the Lord, hear and examine: Who aroused me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear to be wise, and skilled in the laws, and powerful in speech and in every matter? And me- who am detested by this world- He has inspired me beyond others but on condition that with fear and reverence, and without complaining, I should faithfully serve the nation- to which the love of Christ has transferred me, and given me for my life- if it should be worthy- that, in fine, I should serve them with humility and truth.

But I beg of those who believe and fear God, whoever shall deign to look into or receive this writing, which Patrick the sinner, unlearned indeed has written in Ireland, that no one may ever say, if I have done or demonstrated anything according to the will of God, that it was my ignorance which did it. But judge ye, and let it be mostly truly believed, that it has been the gift of God.

And this is my confession before I die.

 

Patrick of Ireland


 

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