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The Scriptorium

Found: The Love and Fear of God

It took slavery and loneliness to bring Patrick to God.

The writings of Patrick (4)

So I was not a fit or worthy man
for what the Lord has granted me; I am
a minor servant in His Kingdom. And
I am amazed that, having at His hand
endured calamities and burdens great,
and having suffered in the humble state
of slavery, now, and after all these years,
I weep with humble and rejoicing tears
to see what God has done – much more than I
had thought or hoped to see before I die.

But after I to Ireland came I found
myself a slave, and pastured sheep around
the hills and meadows in the west. You can
imagine my despair, my sorrow, and
my loneliness, a boy of sixteen years.
My days were filled with toil, my nights with fears.
And so I turned to prayer to find relief
in God, although I had not made belief
my firm conviction as of yet. I prayed
throughout the day, and many times I stayed
awake, beseeching God to pity me.
I found the love and fear of God to be
advancing in my soul; my faith began
to grow, and I began to understand
that God was working in my spirit. I
would pray a hundred times each day, and by
the light of moon and stars, as often, too.
I found through prayer a pleasant means to do
my work without complaint or fear, and would
remain out on the hills or in the woods
through snow or frost or rain. I rose to pray
before the morning light appeared each day
and suffered no adversity, nor was
I sluggish in my work. It was because
the Spirit of the living God was in
me seething, free me from fear and sin.

And it was there, while I was tending sheep,
I was alone one night, and fast asleep,
when, in a dream I heard a voice that said
to me, “Your fast is good, there on your bed
among the flocks, for soon you will return
to your own land.” My heart began to burn
with wonder at this word. Then later on
that night this strange pronouncement came: “Be gone!
Behold, your ship is ready.” Could it be?
Then shortly afterwards I rose to flee
from him whose flocks I had for six long years
been keeping. Yet my vessel was not near
but as it happened, it was more than two
hundred long miles away. And yet I knew
no person in that place, nor ever there
had been before. With only God to care
for me, I fled, and made my way by night
across this land, while keeping out of sight
of men and making do as best I could.

For more about Patrick and the impact of his ministry, order a copy of The Legacy of Patrick, by T. M. Moore 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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