Monday, 19 March 2007

PATRICK'S CONFESSION

As St Patrick's Bank holiday is today (the actual St Patrick's day being the 17th) I thought I would dedicate this blog to the Irish saint. He was fearless , humble and like Paul before him motivated by Christ. Be inspired also by 'his shield' which is included at the end and also hit the link to read his full Confession. It is not long and will be well worth the effort. He was one Brit who came over to this island to do good and must surely be Ireland's best loved Brit.

"Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.

I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul's desire.

I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many. If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me.

If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me. No one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God's good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that - as is the perfect truth - it was the gift of God.

I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people---and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments, and did not obey our priests, who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought over us the wrath of his anger and scattered us among many nations, even unto the utmost part of the earth, where now my littleness is placed among strangers.

And there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief that I might at last remember my sins and be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my abjection, and mercy on my youth and ignorance, and watched over me before I knew Him, and before I was able to distinguish between good and evil, and guarded me, and comforted me as would a father his son.

But after I came to Ireland---every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed---the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me---as I now see, because the spirit within me was then fervent.

That which I have set out in Latin is not my words but the words of God and of apostles and prophets, who of course have never lied. He who believes shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be damned. God has spoken.

I pray those who believe and fear God, whosoever deigns to look at or receive this writing which Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, has composed in Ireland, that no one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God's good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that---as is the perfect truth---it was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die'.



THE SHIELD OF SAINT PATRICK
Attributed to St. Patrick and paraphrased by Cecil Frances Alexander

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, the One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever by power of faith Christ's incarnation,
his baptism in the Jordan river,
his death on the cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb,
his riding up the heavenly way,
his coming at the day of doom I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch,
his might to stay,
his ear to harken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide,
his shield to ward,
the Word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me;
Christ to comfort and restore me;
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word;
praise to the God of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Andrew,
Many thanks for your article.
It was most interesting reading about St.Patrick. His life story was part of our History lesson when I was at school,but that was a long time ago.
Regards,
Raymond.

John F said...

Dia dhuit agus Beanacht le Lá Fhéile Padraig le gach dunne!

God bless

Anonymous said...

Thanks bro


Robin