Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of the great missionary-evangelist, Patrick of Ireland, I went back through my copy of his Confessions and Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus today and jotted down some salient quotes about him and from him. All quotes below are from The Confession of Saint Patrick and Letter to Coroticus translated by John Skinner, 1998, Doubleday Image, which is available for purchase from Amazon here. Previous blog entries I have posted about Patrick can be found here.

Quotes about Patrick:
"Patrick was a man of one book who ate, drank, and dreamed his Latin Bible. Practically every line of his writings contains a Bible phrase or quotation." John Skinner

"The Bible's rhythm had become his own: the chiastic paired statements that characterize so much of Old and New Testament books, as in the opening of John's Gospel, find their echo in Patrick's writings like some lonely bell buoy tolling the entrance to a safe harbor." Skinner

"We know two things for certain: He read his Bible and he prayed." Skinner

"Patrick almost certainly did not write the Lorica, or Breastplate, ... yet it breathes his spirit, for it tells how much of a pitched battle Patrick must have waged against the druids of the pagan world he had come to turn." Skinner

Quotes from Patrick:

"I am Patrick, yes a sinner and indeed untaught .... I am certain in my heart that 'all that I am,' I have received from God. So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God." (Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus)

"If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples."

"I am a slave in Christ to this faraway people for the indescribable glory of everlasting life which is in Jesus Christ our Lord."

"Far away from the love of God is the man who betrays my Christians."

"If this wicked deed, so horrible, so unutterable, had to happen, thanks be to God, as men, believing and baptized, you have left this world behind for paradise. I can see you all clearly: you have set out for where 'there will be no more night,' 'no more lament, neither death.' 'There your hearts will leap, like calves let free from the tether, and you will trample down the wicked underfoot, and they will be like dust under your feet.' Therefore will you reign with the apostles and the prophets and all the martyrs. You will attain the eternal kingdoms. Just as he testifies, exactly as he declares: 'They will come from East and the West, and they will rest with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven."

"I am Patrick, yes a sinner, and the simplest of peasants, so that I am despised by the majority of men." (Confessions)

"I was like some great stone lying deep in mud until 'He who is power' came and 'in his mercy' lifted me up. ... he placed me on the very top of the wall. And so, because of that, I must shout out loud 'to the Lord in order to give back' some small thing for all his gifts that are so great both here and in eternity."

"Who stirred up me, a fool, ... to be fit to help (if only I could!) faithfully and 'in fear and trembling' and without any complaint that race of people to which the love of Christ drew me and thus spend the rest of my life, if only I might prove worthy; simple to serve them in humility and truth."

"I must take this decision, disregarding any risks involved, and make known 'the gifts of God and his everlasting consolation.' Neither must we fear any such risk in faithfully preaching God's name boldly in every place, so that even after my death a spiritual legacy may be left for my brethren and my children."

"I had a vision in my dreams of a man who seemed to come from Ireland: his name was Victoricius and he carried countless letters, one of which he handed over to me. I read aloud where it began: 'The Voice of the Irish.' And as I began to read these words I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut, which lies near the Western sea where the sun sets. They seemed to shout aloud to me 'as if with one and the same voice': 'Holy broth of a boy, we beg you, come back and walk once more among us.' I was utterly 'pierced to my heart's core,' so that I could read no more."

"Who am I, Lord, or what is my calling, that you have appeared to me in such divine power. So that today, among the gentiles, I may praise you ceaselessly and magnify your name, wherever I may be. And this, not merely in good times, but also in distress. So that whatever will come my way, whether good or bad, I may accept it calmly , and always give thanks to God, who has ever shown me how I should believe in him unfailing without end. And he has heard and helped me, so that I, for all my ignorance, should 'in these latter days' dare to undertake this work that is so holy and so wonderful. Thus, in some small way, I may come to imitate those whom long ago the Lord foretold would announce his gospel, 'as a sign to all the gentiles before the world comes its end.'"

"Should I prove worthy, I am ready and willing to give up my own life, without hesitation for his name."

"There would I be glad to pour out my soul even to the point of death, if the Lord would grant it me, because I am so much in God's debt. For he gave me such great grace, that many people through me were reborn to God."

"It is our duty to fish well and with loving care, just as the Lord urges and teaches us."

"What I fear most is to lose the labor I have begun, and not I alone, but Christ the Lord, who bade me come here and be with them for the rest of my life, if the Lord so desires. And he will shield me from every evil, so that I do no sin in his sight."



No comments: