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The Confession of St. Patrick

March 17, 2019

“St. Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland”, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Macon, GA, Source Flickr, Author Andy Coan (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

  1. I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful…had for father the deacon Calpurnius…a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age.  I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people…
  2. And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that…I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son.
  3. Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.
  4. For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father, who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe.  And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds.  And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us…

  1. And therefore for some time I have thought of writing, but I have hesitated until now, for truly, I feared to expose myself to the criticism of men, because I have not studied like others, who have assimilated both Law and the Holy Scriptures equally and have never changed their idiom since infancy…while my idiom and language have been translated into a foreign tongue…
  2. But why make excuses close to the truth, especially when now I am presuming to try to grasp in my old age what I did not gain in my youth…A young man, almost a beardless boy, I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun. So, consequently, today I feel ashamed and I am mightily afraid to expose my ignorance, because, [not] eloquent, with a small vocabulary, I am unable to explain as the spirit is eager to do and as the soul and the mind indicate.
  3. But had it been given to me as to others, in gratitude I should not have kept silent…
  4. I am, then, first of all, countryfied, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure…[1]

[1]  Christian Classics Ethereal Library, “The Confession of St. Patrick”, https://www.ccel.org/ccel/patrick/confession.pdf.

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From → Christian, Faith, Religion

3 Comments
  1. What a lovely confession..

  2. So wonderful.

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