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The Scriptorium

The Gift of God

We have not seen the likes of Patrick.

Patrick’s Confession (30)

For the sun is that which we see rising daily at His command, but it will never reign, nor will its splendour last forever. And all those who worship it will be subject to grievous punishment. We, however, worship the true sun, Christ, who will never perish. Nor will those who do His bidding, but they will continue forever just as Christ will continue forever, He Who reigns with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit before time and now and in eternity. Amen.

See: again and again, I would reiterate what I wish to express in my declaration. I testify, in truth and in joy of heart, before God and His angels, that I never had any reason beyond the Gospel and its promises, ever to return to that people from whom I had formerly escaped.

But I implore those God-fearing believers who agree to read or accept this document which the unlettered Patrick composed in Ireland, that none of them will attribute to an ignorant person like me any little thing I may have done, or any guidance I may have given according to God’s will. Consider, and let it be truly believe, that it may have been rather the gift of God. And that is what I have to say before I die.

Translation Liam De Paor, St. Patrick’s World

Patrick brings his Confession to a close, insisting, as he has throughout, on three things: 1) He is a rustic, unlearned person, by implication, not clever enough to have devised the scheme with which he was being charged. 2) He only ever came back to Ireland for the sake of the Gospel, and not for any personal or pecuniary advantage. 3) Whatever he may have accomplished – and it was significant – the glory and credit are to be ascribed to God only, Who gave him the gift of his calling and ministry when he was yet alienated from Him. 

Patrick is convinced that he has done nothing but the bidding of Jesus Christ in all his endeavors. He has served the Sun of Righteousness Who rose with healing in His wings to redeem and restore a wandering youth. And he could not have done that bidding were it not for the help of the Triune God. Patrick’s motivations were pure; his theology was Trinitarian and orthodox; his manner of life was humble and self-sacrificing; and all his accomplishments were only the grace of God at work in and through him. He pleads with those who read his Confession to take him at his word. 

They would have to, because he had no intention of leaving the calling and gift of God to return to Britain in order to answer what he and everyone knew to be spurious charges on the part of jealous and overweening superiors.

With Patrick’s mission the dawn of the Celtic Revival rose onto the pages of history. Patrick was used by God to launch a new day, not only in the history of Ireland but in the history of the Christian movement. We have not seen the likes of Patrick since the Lord brought his life and ministry to a close.

But it is altogether possible that God may raise up more men and women like Him, a flame of devotion, discipline, and daring to take the Gospel of the Kingdom into the darkness of the unbelieving age.

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.

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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