Not many of you were overtaxed by the ‘mystery’ text I blogged some two weeks ago, well today I can reveal that the quotation was taken from our National saint, Patrick’s ‘confession’. This work penned by Patrick’s own hand is the only reliable literary source we have to inform us of the reality of the Apostles mission to Ireland as against the rich body of legend and hearsay that has built up over the centuries. When I was a child we were taught that Saint Patrick brought Catholic Christianity to this island having been sent here by the Pope to ‘civilise’ the wild Irish. In vain you will search his own writings to confirm this fable as he did not come here to Romanise the natives with the trappings of that religious institution, but rather according to himself to make disciples for Jesus, His Lord
He writes “ ’ And likewise the Lord foretells through the prophet: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days (sayeth the Lord) that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesy.’ And in Hosea he says: ‘Those who are not my people I will call my people, and those not beloved I will call my beloved, and in the very place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” they will be called ’Sons of the living God.”’
The church left by Patrick was an independent Celtic fellowship that for centuries fiercely resisted the attempted intrusions of Rome into their order and governance. In the light of the recent woes of Catholicism in Ireland because of that institutions cover-up of clerical sexual abuse, one cannot help but wonder how the ‘gospel’ would have fared if the Irish church had successfully withstood the rule of Rome over her . The majority expression of ‘Christianity’ in our country today is in a sorry state, not ruined from enemies without but crumbling from the culture of secrecy and covertness within. A good time to remind all fair minded people of the original message preached by Patrick centering on the personal redemption of Jesus Christ and the illumination for the human soul from His glorious Word.
Towards the end of Patrick’s ‘Confession’ he writes of his motivation and hoped for reward, “ Behold, I call on God as my witness upon my soul that I am not lying; nor would I write to you for it to be an occasion for flattery or selfishness, nor hoping for honour from any one of you. Sufficient is the honour which is not yet seen, but in which the heart has confidence. He who made the promise is faithful; he never lies.” May God himself raise up men and women who will continue the evangelisation of our land with such purity and purpose, an Ireland redeemed and reborn !