Thursday, March 17, 2016
But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,
or mortals, that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
subjecting all things under their feet.”
[Hebrews 2:6-8a New Revised Standard Version]
[Our guest blogger today is Patrick, Bishop and Missionary to Ireland, who died on this date at Saul in County Down, Ireland, in the year 461. A native of Britain, Patrick was kidnapped by pirates at age sixteen and sold into slavery in Ireland. After a few years, he escaped, returned home, and entered the ministry. Returning to Ireland, he successfully served as a bishop and missionary there.
What follows is a portion of his “Confession,” as found in Philip Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals & Commemorations.]
I give unceasing thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the day of my testing. Today I can confidently offer the living sacrifice of myself to Christ, who kept me safe through all my perils. I can say now: Who am I Lord and what is my calling that you worked through me with such divine power? You did all this so that today among the Gentiles I might constantly rejoice and glorify your Name wherever I may be, both in prosperity and in my adversity. Whatever happens to me, I can with serenity accept good and evil equally, always giving thanks to God, who has shown me how to trust him him always, as one who is never to be doubted. He answered my prayer in such a way that in the last days, ignorant though I am, I might be bold enough to take up so holy and so wonderful a task, and imitate in some degree those whom the Lord had so long ago foretold as heralds of his Gospel, bearing witness to all nations.
Where did I get this wisdom, that was not mine before? I did not know the number of my days, or have knowledge of God. How did so great a salutary a gift come to me, the gift of knowing and loving God, though at the cost of homeland and family? I came to the Irish people to preach the Gospel and endure the taunts of unbelievers, putting up with reproaches about my earthly pilgrimage, suffering many persecutions, even imprisonment, and losing my birthright of freedom for the benefit of others.
If I am worthy, I am ready also to give up my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for his name. I want to spend my life here until death, if the Lord grant me this favor. I am deeply in his debt, for he gave me the great grace that through me many people should be reborn in God, and then made perfect by confirmation and everywhere among them clergy ordained for a people so recently coming to believe, one people gathered by the Lord from the ends of the earth.
This is our faith: believers are to come from the whole world.
—With my wishes for a blessed St. Patrick’s Day!