The Celtic Revival: Patrick (20)
For we shall rise in Him as with the sun
when He returns, when glory has begun
to shine around the sons and daughters of
the living God, and we shall in His love
forever live, co-heirs with Christ, remade
according to His image, Who has paid
our debt; and we will reign with Him, and through
and in Him ever more.
- Patrick, Confession (5th century)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
- 1 John 3.1-3
“We humans are hopers by nature. Hope motivates, energizes, and drives us. It is natural to us to look ahead and long for any good things we foresee. That is how God made us.”
J. I. Packer is surely correct in this (Finishing Our Course with Joy). Human beings are creatures of hope. We live toward the future, striving and struggling to gain whatever may be our perception of the good life, or at least, the next good thing.
But too many people end up disappointed by what they hoped in, especially when their hopes are lodged in material things or changeable circumstances. We fix our minds on what we think will make us finally happy and fulfilled. Then we organize our lives to achieve that hope, only to feel disappointment upon realizing it. Material things and agreeable circumstances cannot bring us that deep-seated sense of joy every human being desires. We deceive ourselves when we hope in things and situations, and we waste our lives pursuing such fickle, changeable conditions. We are made for a more permanent hope.
Patrick did not suffer from disappointed hopes. He set his mind and heart on being with Jesus forever in glory, and he followed a disciplined life course of being increasingly conformed to the image of Jesus, as he carried out the work to which Jesus had called him.
As John says, when the great, commanding hope of our lives is to see Jesus, to be like Him, and to be with Him where He is forever, we will purify our lives of everything that is contrary to Jesus and all that keeps us from growing in Him, and we will devote our days to following Jesus in our calling to His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12).
What is your vision of the good life? What is the commanding hope of your heart? Is it Jesus? Jesus and His Kingdom and glory, now and forever, more and more, increasingly into every nook and cranny of your soul and every aspect of your life? Unless Jesus is your great hope forever, He will not be what you hope for now. And unless you are living in the expectation of seeing Him face to face, you will not prepare for that encounter as you should.
Set your mind on Jesus, as Patrick did. See Him exalted in glory, upholding the universe and all things by His powerful Word, commanding angels to do His bidding, putting all His enemies under His feet, radiant in glorious majesty, brimming with grace and truth, riding forth each day conquering and to conquer. See Jesus and live toward that day when you will be with Him and like Him forever.
As followers of Christ, we stand in the hope of glory (Rom. 5.1, 2). Our lives could be enriched and empowered by taking this eternal hope as our daily hope, and pressing on to grow into Jesus more and more each day. This is how Patrick lived, and, by following his example, we can know the transforming and Kingdom-advancing power of Jesus increasingly, every day of our lives.
Psalm 46.4, 5 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
God’s everlasting, joyous grace gladdens the city where He dwells.
Safely in Him, we will not be moved; when morning dawns, His love will be proved.
Fears and distresses Jesus dispels for His beloved, chosen race.
Are we pressing on to know Jesus?
Patrick did, and so did the apostle Paul. But what does it mean to know Jesus? And what does a life of growing in the knowledge of Jesus require of us? Our book, To Know Him, can help you answer those questions. Order your copy by clicking here.
I encourage you to prayerfully seek the Lord about becoming a supporter of The Fellowship of Ailbe. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate onlinethrough credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Verse translation excerpts of Patrick’s Confession from T. M. Moore, Celtic Flame (forthcoming).