Patrick’s Confession (27)
Look: I call God into my soul as a witness, that I am not lying. Nor would I wish to write to you to ingratiate myself or to gain anything from you, nor because I look for respect from any of you. If my integrity is not clear to you, it is enough for me that I am sure of it in my heart. Moreover, He Who made His promise to the faithful, He never lies.
But I see that already, in the present, I am lifted up beyond measure by the Lord, and I was not worthy of that, nor of the way He has provided for me; since I know for certain that I am better fitted for poverty and misfortune than for wealth and luxury. But the Lord Christ too was poor for our sake. I am indigent and unfortunate, and even if I wanted wealth, I do not have it. But that is not how I estimate myself; because I expect daily to be killed, betrayed, or brought back into slavery, or something of the kind. But, because of the promise of heaven, I fear none of these things. For I have thrown myself into the hands of Almighty God, who reigns everywhere; as the prophet says, “Cast your cares upon God and He will sustain you.
Translation Liam De Paor, St. Patrick’s World
Anyone who knew Patrick – and the authorities in Britain did not – could have testified that he was not making a profit on his work of ministry among the Irish. Patrick appears to have been continually on the move among the peoples of Ireland. He had no occasion to accumulate wealth, and there would not have been any way for him to enjoy it had he acquired it. He used the resources that came his way to further the work of his ministry, not to surround himself with things, pleasures, and luxury. Anyone who knew him could testify to that.
Anyone who didn’t know him should simply leave him alone to do the Lord’s work.
And even if the church leaders in Britain did not believe him, and continued to embrace the calumny charged to his name, he wasn’t going to sweat about it. He knew his motives and condition, and his conscience, as Paul might have said, was good and clean before God and men.
Danger seems to have stalked Patrick’s work much of the time. He had no wealth which local rulers might have coveted. What he did have in the way of money or valuables, he used to purchase entry among the local peoples, that he might preach the Gospel and disciple new converts. It would have been in the best material interests of local rulers to protect Patrick, since he was a steady revenue stream to their coffers. Still, Patrick would have had to deal with jealousy on the part of some rulers as well as local priests and druids. He had been taken captive more than once, as previously reported, and he knew it could happen again at any moment.
But he had thrown himself into the hands of Almighty God. What a wonderful image! Having thrown himself there, Patrick believed that God would provide for him and allow him to finish his work and the course chosen for him by the Lord.
This is the faith of one who truly knows the Lord and knows that he is pursuing the Lord’s calling.
Want to learn more about Patrick and the impact of his ministry? Order T. M.’s book, The Legacy of Patrick, from our online store.