Monday, 17 March 2014

Christ Is All In All!

Saint Patrick
One of the most inspiring Saints of old for me is St. Patrick. From the time I came in contact with his story and history, I've been really impressed and spiritually blessed. Since today is St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd share something of him. Some of you may have come across this post before in my other blog, but I don't think there is any harm in sharing it here again this year, too, especially for those who haven't seen it before. 

Now, if you ask many people nowadays who St. Patrick was, they would most probably not know very much about him other than the myths and legends that have been woven endlessly around him for countless generations. These legends have obscured the man behind those legends and made most of us (yes, even us Christians) forget why he became such a legend in the first place.

St. Patrick
via Confession of St. Patrick

Patrick (c. A.D. 386-461) wrote very little about himself and no one during his lifetime wrote about him, either. However, we are fortunately left with a few of his writings that tells us something of the true Patrick, a holy and humble man of great faith in God with a truly apostolic mission. The most important document is his the Confessio or Confession (*I highly recommend reading it*). In it he sketches his life story - how he was captured by Irish slave traders, how he called on the Lord in the day of his distress and was saved, how he miraculously escaped his captivity and returned to his home in Briton, then how he was called back to the people who had enslaved him in order to preach the Gospel to them, and how he obeyed God's call despite the danger and difficulties

Paul Gallico said this about Patrick in his A Steadfast Man: A Life of St. Patrick (1958),

"He [Patrick] stands forth as a wonderfully human being, a man with almost all man's failings, yet touched by the divine. The testimony of his own hand exposes one who is not ashamed to admit that he owed everything to God, and that, had it not been for Him, he, Patrick, would have been other than he was.

"Out of the pages of the Confessio arises the figure of a man of indomitable purpose and compelling spiritual power, who, as [Bishop] Secundinus [probably a nephew of Patrick] wrote in his hymn, 'in sincerity of heart had confidence in God'.

"It is this sincerity, faith, and confidence - the utter subjection of himself to God - that gave Patrick his stature and account for the success that has placed him amongst the saints of the ages. 

"Patrick's trust in God breathes from every page and from every line he wrote. It replaced a confidence that he never felt in himself, for Patrick entertained no illusions as to his initial abilities and talents. But God made everything possible to him, helped him to overcome every obstacle, physical or spiritual, with which his adventurous life was studded. he walked armoured in this faith and nothing could touch him; not the swords and spears of his enemies, or the occasional envy or spite of his friends. 

"It was this love for God and his dedication to the life, the work and the word of Christ that gave Patrick his steadfast and unchanging nature. God was Patrick's catalyst who fused and tempered his character. From the time that the boy Patrick discovered Him on the freezing slopes of Mount Slemish, there was not a thought or action that was not first funneled through God. Thus the Saint's line of action ran as straight as an arrow, undeviating, unwavering. It was impossible for him to act other than in concert with his God, who had called him to serve. He had the word of that God and that Christ, spoken through the Scriptures and the Gospels; he lived by them to the utmost of his ability and he asked of those about him and those whom he preached and converted to try to do likewise. And you will see, glittering from some of his paragraphs. like jewels, his joy when he succeeded."

(p. 124-125) 

Christ Enthroned
the Book of Kells
via Wikipedia

Patrick's faith in God and his obedience to His call to preach to the heathen Irish when nobody else thought it possible, changed the destiny and faith of a whole nation and influenced the development of Christian Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. The monasteries that dotted the Irish landscape became a bastion of learning during the troubled times of the barbarian invasions in Europe. The beautiful calligraphic manuscripts created and preserved in those monasteries awe us all, the Book of Kells being a chief example. 

There is so much more to learn about Patrick, his faith and his work for the Lord, maybe I'll leave that for another post for now. Until then, however, I highly recommend watching the docu-drama Patrick (narrated by Liam Neeson with the voice of Patrick by Gabriel Byrne), which tells Patrick's story really well and it's very encouraging and inspiring (see Trailer below).

I'll close here with this special prayer... 

The Prayer of St. Patrick
I arise today through a mighty strength, 
The invocation of the Trinity 
Through belief in the Threeness, 
Through Confessions of the Oneness, 
Towards the Creator.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His Burial, 
Through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the Judgement of Doom.

I arise today 
Through God's Strength to guide me,
God's might to uphold me, 
God's Wisdom to lead me, 
God's eye to look before me, 
God's ear to hear me, 
God's word to speak for me, 
God's hand to guard me, 
God's way to lie before me, 
God's host to defend me
against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices, 
against the lusts of nature, 
against all who wish me harm
from far or near,
with few or the many.

Christ protect me today
Against poison, against burning,
against drowning, against wounding
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, 
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, 
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness, 
Through Confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord,
Salvation is of the Lord,
Salvation is of Christ. 
May Thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.'


Paul Gallico. The Steadfast Man: A Life of St Patrick. London: Michael Joseph, 1958. pp. 126-127

References and Further Reading (Click on the images to find on 
- St. Patrick, Confession (available  online at )

- Patrick Docu-Drama DVD

- Paul Gallico, The Steadfast Man: A Life of St. Patrick, London: Michael Joseph, 1958.

- Mary Wilson, Builders and Destroyers, God's Hand in History A.D. 300-700, Book IV, London: Blandford Press, 1968, pp. 60-8 


  1. Very interesting, Sarah! Since I have a Scot-Irish heritage I always love hearing about Irish history, and we're looking forward to St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. :) (Though you, being in Australia, have already had it!)

    I love St. Patrick, perhaps most of all because he paved the way for another of my favorite Irish saints--St. Columba. Because of Patrick's conversion and extensive evangelism, St. Columba had people able to bring him to Christ a couple of centuries later. Though he had a stormy youth, Columba went on to evangelize extensively in Scotland. Because of Patrick's obedience to God's call, a few generations later a young Irishman rose up to influence Patrick's homeland. I love the way the two men's lives weave together in God's masterful plan. :)

    Lovely article! Thank-you very much. :)


    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Schuyler! I'm glad you were blessed by it. :)
      I love Irish and Scottish history very much, too. Yes, I know of St. Columba, though I haven't read much about him. I hope to improve on that in the future. Thanks for reminding me of him. He seems like another special man of God. It is indeed amazing to see God's plan of salvation at work. :)

      Thanks again for stopping by! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...