Sechnall, “Audite Omnes Amantes” (5)
Tirelessly he feeds the faithful with heavenly feasts,
lest those who are seen with Christ should fail upon the way:
he gives them the words of the Gospel like loaves,
multiplied in his hands like manna.
He keeps his flesh chaste for love of the Lord,
flesh which he has prepared as a temple for the Holy Spirit
(by whom it is constantly moved to pure deeds),
and which he offers to the Lord as a pleasing living sacrifice.
He is the light of the world, the great burning light of the Gospel,
raised aloft on a candlestick, illuminating the whole age;
the fortified city of a king, set atop a mountain,
in which there is great abundance of the Lord’s possessions.
For he will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven,
who fulfills in good deeds what he teaches in holy words;
who by his good example goes forth as a model to the faithful,
and guards faith in God in his pure heart.
Translation John Carey, King of Mysteries
Sechnall emphasizes the soundness and constancy both of Patrick’s teaching and his life. Ministers of the Gospel have three tools to bring to their task – prayer, the Word, and their personal lives. Sechnall will describe Patrick’s prayer life a bit later. For now, he is giving us a glimpse into the saint’s “curriculum” and the kind of person he was as he ministered among the pagans in Ireland.
As to his teaching, a twofold focus appears. While (as we’ve seen) Patrick taught from the apostles of the New Testament and the Law (and Prophets) of the Old, his focus is on the Gospel and the Kingdom. He fed even the saints with the Gospel. We can never experience the fullness of the Good News that we have in Jesus. It is the duty of ministers to keep urging the salvation of the Lord on those who believe, to feed them with “heavenly feasts” and “loaves” of Gospel nutrition. We get the sense that Patrick preached and taught the Gospel often and personally as each had need. He held out the Gospel to the world of His day, using all the gifts God had concentrated in him to make the Good News of Jesus known.
The second emphasis was on the Kingdom, but this is simply an elaboration of the Gospel. The Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom, or it’s not the Gospel Jesus proclaimed and the apostles taught. Patrick taught as one who was “greatest in the kingdom of heaven”, which means he lived and taught the Law of God (Matt. 5.17-19). Patrick taught and preached Jesus as Savior and Lord, and he called all who believed to follow in the path Jesus walked (1 Jn. 2.1-6). And Patrick’s life backed up his teaching so that people who heard him had no doubt concerning whether his words were reliable and true.
Patrick consecrated himself as a temple of the Spirit of God, and he diligently strove to live in a manner worthy of such a calling, as he himself reports in his Confession. His life was a living sacrifice to the Lord each day, “a model to the faithful”, who by “pure deeds” and “good deeds” showed the followers of Christ how the Good News of the Kingdom makes all things news.
Patrick thus served the purposes of the Kingdom of God in his life and ministry, preaching and working for righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit in every aspect of his ministry.
T. M. Moore
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.