Patrick: Pilgrim, Patron and Model
By Deacon Keith Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
He was raised in a Christian home in Britain toward the end of the fourth century. This was an age much like our own, gripped by a "culture of death" and filled with a spirit of lawlessness. Tragedy struck Patrick at sixteen years old when he was kidnapped by Irish Pirates and taken to the Emerald Isle. This was the first experience he would have of the land that he would later come to love and for which he would give himself away in tireless missionary service.
Upon arrival in this plush, green, breathtaking and beautiful land, he was sold as property to a petty chieftain who put him to work with his herds of swine.
Patrick could have become embittered. In fact, the reaction would have been understandable. Instead, he became holy. When this young man recalled these traumatic events in his marvelous work "The Confession", he perceived the tragedy not as a victim but rather as a penitent:
"I was then about sixteen years of age. I knew not the true God; and I went into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of persons, according to our deserts, because we departed away from God, and kept not His commandments, and were not obedient to our priests, who used to admonish us for our salvation"
While he was a slave, Patrick recalled his Christian upbringing and turned back to that true God of whom he wrote so eloquently. He became a pilgrim, turning his captivity into a time of spiritual growth. He learned to walk the way of love. He wrote of that time:
"Now, after I came to Ireland, tending flocks was my daily occupation; and constantly I use to pray in the daytime. Love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and faith grew, and the spirit was moved, so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night nearly as many, so that I use to stay even in the woods and on the mountain to this end. And before daybreak I use to be roused to prayer, in snow, in frost, in rain. And I felt no hurt, nor was there any sluggishness in me- as I now see because the spirit was then fervent within me"
After six years of unjust captivity, during which this pilgrim had become a mystic, Patrick escaped with the help of some friendly traders. He pledged that he would never return to Ireland. However, the God whom Patrick had fallen in love with had other plans for his life.
In the middle of the night the Lord gave Patrick a vision which he recorded for posterity. Because he responded to the invitation contained in that vision, this wonderful man was used by the Living and true God to literally change the history of not only Ireland but the rest of the world:
"And there verily I saw in the night visions, a man whose name was Victorius coming as it were from Ireland with countless letters. And he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter, which was entitled "The Voice of the Irish"; and while I was reading aloud the beginning of the letter, I thought that at that very moment I heard the voice of those who lived beside the wood of Folcut, which is nigh unto the Western Sea. And thus they cried, as with one mouth: "We beseech thee , O holy youth, to come and walk once more among us." And I was exceedingly broken in heart, and would read no further. And so I awaoke. Thanks be to God, that after very many years the Lord granted to them according to their cry"
Through much perseverance, Patrick finally returned to Ireland, now an ordained servant of the Church of that true God. His "Confession" tells of his experience of being used to transform that beautiful land into a seedbed of Christianity through his evangelization and missionary work. The Pilgrim Patrick is a model for our age and for the new evangelization that we so desperately need. We live in a new missionary age. Patrick's progression of faith must become our own.
Patrick chose to reject "victim-hood" and self-centeredness. Instead, he embraced the way of the Cross, carrying on the redemptive mission of Jesus. He fell in love with the Lord by developing a profound and transforming interior life, a personal relationship with God. He did this through deep, constant and abiding prayer. In this way of life, the Christian way, he learned to discern the voice of the Lord in his daily life, developed the eyes of faith and responded with perseverance to the call to become a missionary. Each of us is invited to do the same.
On this day, when the entire world pauses to remember Patrick's life and his legacy, to rightly celebrate a full and meaningful life- and to honor to a beautiful country and people who have sent missionaries to the rest of the world to carry Patrick's work forward through the ages, let us truly honor his memory by choosing to walk in His way. Like Patrick, let us follow Jesus Christ. Let us make Patrick's wonderful prayer, which reflects his very real life, our own. Let us march into the Third Christian Millennium called, as was this wonderful saint and hero, to proclaim, demonstrate and live the Gospel:
"Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me King of my heart; Christ within me, Christ below me, Christ above me never to part. Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand, Christ all around me shield in strife; Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising light of my life. Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me King of my heart; Christ within me, Christ below me, Christ above me never to part."
Deacon Keith Fournier is a Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia
Third Millennium, LLC
http://www.catholic.org VA, US
Deacon Keith Fournier - Deacon, 757 546-9580
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Monday, December 11, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 HD Video
- Here's how Pope Francis wants to change the Lords Prayer HD Video
- Prepare for the Lord: Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the ...
- After 100 years of construction, the largest Catholic church in ...
- Vatican concerned over President Trump's decision in Israel
- Pope Saint Damasus I: Saint of the Day for Monday, December 11, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, December 11th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, December 10th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, December 9th, 2017 HD
- 200,000 people evacuated as California burns HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way