Patrick’s Confession (28)
See: I commend my soul to my most trustworthy God, Whose ambassador I am, in spite of my obscurity. He accepts no person, but He chose me for this task, to be one of the least of His servants.
Because of this I will repay Him for all He has bestowed on me. But what shall I say, what shall I promise my Lord, since I have no power over anything unless He gives it to me? But let Him look into my innermost being: I greatly desire and am prepared for Him to grant me that I might drink from His chalice, as He has permitted to others who loved Him.
Therefore, let God never permit me to lose the people that He has won in the ends of the earth. I pray God to give me perseverance and to deign to allow me to give faithful testimony of Him until my death, for the sake of my God.
Translation Liam De Paor, St. Patrick’s World
Patrick wanted his readers to be absolutely clear: He regarded himself as a person of no consequence except that which God assigned to him in the work he was given to do. God is trustworthy, Patrick was not. God is glorious, Patrick was rustic and unlearned. God is the Giver of all good things, Patrick was but His instrument for distributing grace to God’s people. God is all power, Patrick had power only to do what God had called and given Him to do. God is the Keeper of those whom Patrick was used to save. God is the Preserver of Patrick and all those who truly love and obey Him.
Patrick was not refusing to come to Britain and give an account of his ministry because he thought he was above such an indignity. Far be it. He believed that to do so would actually have been to consider himself above God and more important than he really was. He could not come to Britain, as if he were someone those bishops should be all worked up about anyway, because he belonged to God, Who chose Him for a work which was not yet finished.
He was God’s ambassador to the Irish people, and only God could recall him. God had not done so yet, nor would he, and therefore Patrick would continue about the work appointed to him, and to which he, from the depths of his heart, was committed to fulfill. Thus he expected to drink the full draught of the chalice of God’s salvation, when God – not jealous British bishops – finally called him home.
One’s sense of calling to the work of ministry – or any work in the Kingdom of God – is as important as one’s vision of the work to be done. As God’s ambassador, Patrick had both – a clear and compelling vision, and a from-the-heart calling to serve God in Ireland. With these two matters locked down, all the rest – training, acquisition of skills, resources, and so forth – would come in their proper time. And, in Patrick’s case, did.
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.