St. PatrickSt. Patrick's "Confession"

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Photo: "Skellig Michael" Copyright Irish Tourist Board.

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."

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  Chapter 1. (of 5)

   Kidnapped and Enslaved!

    I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned...

     I am Patrick, a sinner, most unlearned, the least of all the faithful, and utterly despised by many.  My father was Calpornius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of the village Bannavem Taburnić; he had a country seat nearby, and there I was taken captive.

     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.

...that I might...be converted with all my heart to the Lord my God...

     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.

Photo: of Skellig Michael, Ireland.  Dopyright Irish Tourist Board. Skellig Michael off the Western Irish Coast.  Monks lived here for over 600 years.

     Hence I cannot be silent---nor, indeed, is it expedient---about the great benefits and the great grace which the Lord has deigned to bestow upon me in the land of my captivity; for this we can give to God in return after having been chastened by Him, to exalt and praise His wonders before every nation that is anywhere under the heaven.

...every tongue shall confess...Jesus Christ is Lord and God...

     Because there is no other God, nor ever was, nor will be, than God the Father unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, the Lord of the universe, as we have been taught; and His Son Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have always been with the Father, spiritually and ineffably begotten by the Father before the beginning of the world, before all beginning; and by him are made all things visible and invisible.

     He was made man, and, having defeated death, was received into heaven by the Father; and He hath given Him all power over all names in heaven, on earth, under the earth.  Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe, and whose advent we expect soon to be.  He is judge of the living and of the dead, who will render every man according to his deeds; and He has poured forth upon us abundantly the Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality.  Who makes those who believe and obey, sons of God and joint heirs with Christ; and Him do we confess and adore, one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.

...one God in the Trinity of the Holy Name.

     For He Himself has said through the Prophet: Call upon me in the day of thy trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. And again He says: It is honourable to reveal and confess the works of God.

     Although I am imperfect in many things, I nevertheless wish that my brethren and kinsmen should know what sort of person I am, so that they may understand my heart's desire.

     I know well the testimony of my Lord, who in the Psalm declares: Thou wilt destroy them that speak a lie. And again He says: The mouth that belieth killeth the soul. And the same Lord says in the Gospel: Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment.

... I had in mind to write, but hesitated until now...

     And so I should dread exceedingly, with fear and trembling, this sentence on that day when no one will be able to escape or hide, but we all, without exception, shall have to give an account even of our smallest sins before the judgment of the Lord Christ.

     For this reason I had in mind to write, but hesitated until now; I was afraid of exposing myself to the talk of men, because I have not studied like the others, who thoroughly imbibed law and Sacred Scripture, and never had to change from the language of their childhood days, but were able to make it still more perfect.  

...for, so says Scripture, by the tongue will be discovered the wise man, and understanding, and knowledge, and the teaching of truth.

     In our case, what I had to say had to be translated into a tongue foreign to me, as can be easily proved from the savour of my writing, which betrays how little instruction and training I have had in the art of words; for, so says Scripture, by the tongue will be discovered the wise man, and understanding, and knowledge, and the teaching of truth.

     But of what help is an excuse, however true, especially if combined with presumption, since now, in my old age, I strive for something that I did not acquire in youth? 

Hence to-day I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education...

     It was my sins that prevented me from fixing in my mind what before I had barely read through. But who believes me, though I should repeat what I started out with?

     As a youth, nay, almost as a boy not able to speak, I was taken captive, before I knew what to pursue and what to avoid.  Hence to-day I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education; for I am unable to tell my story to those versed in the art of concise writing---in such a way, I mean, as my spirit and mind long to do, and so that the sense of my words expresses what I feel.

... I would not be silent because of my desire of thanksgiving...

     But if indeed it had been given to me as it was given to others, then I would not be silent because of my desire of thanksgiving; and if perhaps some people think me arrogant for doing so in spite of my lack of knowledge and my slow tongue, it is, after all, written: The stammering tongues shall quickly learn to speak peace.

      How much more should we earnestly strive to do this, we, who are, so Scripture says, a letter of Christ for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth, and, though not an eloquent one, yet...written in your hearts, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God! And again the Spirit witnesses that even rusticity was created by the Highest.

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Continued on Next Page (5 pages in all):

Chapter 2: Escape!

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Related Pages:

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Translated from the Latin by Ludwig Bieler.

Layout, Logo, and Photos Copyright © 2004 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

Except: Skellig Michael Photos Copyright Irish Tourist Board.

 

Photo: of statue of Saint Patrick in Ireland. Statue of Saint Patrick located at his mountain in Western Ireland.

Ca. 373 - Ca. 493 A.D. _______________

In the "Confession," we have St. Patrick's own writings to us in his own words.  Originally written in Latin, this short work contains over 200 Scripture references. _______________

Have you received Christ as your Lord and Saviour? 

Find out how to do so on our page:

Plan of Salvation ________________

Tell others about Jesus like St. Patrick did:

Though not all Christians are called to the ministry of an Evangelist, we are all called by God to share our faith (witness) with those who are not Christians.  Some Bible verses that you will find helpful for doing this, and that you may want to commit to memory are found on other pages on our  web site (see: Memory Verses; 2nd Set: Salvation!, Plan of Salvation, and Statement of Faith). _________________