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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Listen Up!

Insights from Patrick's colleagues.

Patrick (18)

Hearken, all you lovers of God, to the holy merits
of a man blessed in Christ, the bishop Patrick:
how through his good deeds he is like the angels,
and on account of his perfect life is made equal to the apostles.

He keeps Christ’s blessed commandments in all things,
his bright deeds shine forth among men;
and they follow his holy miraculous example,
so that they [too] magnify God the Father in heaven.

Constant in the fear of God, and immovable in faith,
upon whom, as upon Peter, the church is built:
whose apostleship has come from God,
against whom the gates of hell do not prevail.

 - Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes[1]

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

 - Philippians 3.17-21

By his own reluctant account, Patrick’s life and ministry were greatly used for the cause of the Gospel in Ireland in the 5th century. His report is reinforced, enlarged, and further clarified by the accounts of various of his contemporaries, beginning with Sechnall, his close companion in the work.

Sechnall wrote his hymn about Patrick while Patrick was still alive (we know this from present-tense references to him, scattered throughout). The Latin title means, “Listen up, all you lovers [of God].” And while this hymn, the first Christian hymn written in Ireland, extols Patrick’s character and work, its real focus is on God, to honor and glorify Him for the great awakening to faith which occurred under Patrick’s ministry.

Sechnall gives us more detail about Patrick’s character and work. He lived a “perfect life” and did many “good deeds”, making him like the apostles and the angels. He was faithful to all the commandments of Christ, and the light of Christ shone through his “bright deeds” to illuminate the Good News he proclaimed. Many committed to the worship of God through his ministry, becoming imitators of Patrick as he was an imitator of the apostles and of Christ.

In the third stanza Sechnall makes a bold statement which seems (to me, at least) to have been directed at those bishops in England who were hostile to Patrick’s ministry and ultimately tried to recall him. Patrick, wrote Sechnall, was like Peter. He received his apostleship “from God” and not from men. He became the apostolic foundation for the Church in Ireland, not the bishops in Britain and not even the pontiff in Rome. A bit later in his hymn, Sechnall will refer to Patrick as a “pontiff”, as if to emphasize that Patrick was not accountable to the Roman Church but only to the Church in Ireland and the leaders there.

Patrick feared the Lord. He did not fear the threats of jealous clergy in Britain. He did not fear poverty, enslavement, destitution, or death. He feared the Lord and fearing Him, he served Him faithfully and grew in love for Him consistently.

Patrick understood that his citizenship was in heaven and that he was accountable to Christ, his only Shepherd and King. My sense is that, upon seeing his brother and colleague being unjustly treated by Church authorities, and realizing that this would probably be widely known throughout Patrick’s ministry, Sechnall determined to come to the aid of his friend and write a hymn which could be recited and sung all over Ireland as a single united voice of support for their “bishop Patrick.”

Sechnall reminded the people of Ireland what they already knew, that Patrick was called of God, humble and righteous in all his ways, faithful in his labors, and devoted to seeking the Kingdom of God. Sechnall’s hymn would serve to reinforce Patrick’s ministry and encourage the believers in Ireland to follow his example. Audite Omnes Amantes is a gracious and glorious tribute to Patrick and a powerful supplement to his work. And it demonstrates how Patrick’s love for those he served was eagerly reciprocated and made widely known in his day and beyond.

For Reflection
1. If you were to write a hymn about someone who had richly blessed your life in Christ, who would that be? What would you say?

2. If someone wanted to write a hymn about you, what would they be able to say as a way of thanking and glorifying God?

Psalm 16.1-3 (All to Christ: Jesus Paid It All)
Preserve me, O my God; I refuge seek in You.
You alone are all my good, my LORD and Savior true!
Refrain v. 11
Make me know life’s way! Pleasures fill Your hand.
Fill my life with joy each day! Before Your face I stand.

The saints within the earth, majestic in their day,
delight me with the worth of all they do and say.

Thank You, Lord, for Patrick and
Sechnall and for all those saints who have meant so much to me, including…

T. M. Moore

Patrick’s Legacy
You can read more about the impact of Patrick’s ministry in our book, The Legacy of Patrick. Here you’ll learn how Patrick’s work has affected generations of Christians down to our own day. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Crosfigell comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

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.

[1] All quotes are from John Carey, tr. and ed., King of Mysteries: Early Irish Religious Writings (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1998), pp. 147ff.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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