The Life of St. Patrick

In Patrick we find a man who recognizes God’s discipline on his own early disobedience, and accepts the hardship as his just deserts.  He repents and gives faithful service to his Lord and Master.  For his earthly reward, he receives the slights, insults, slanders and trials that accompany serving Christ.  He takes these things with Christian grace.  He does defend himself from the charges, but his heart is plainly not in vindicating himself, but in caring for his brothers and sisters in Christ.

In defending his downtrodden brethren, he is not afraid to speak the truth to anyone, and he annoys some powerful people, both inside and outside Christ’s church.  For protection against them all, he cries out to God.  He is doing God’s work, and he knows that this means that he is a fellow-laborer with God’s whole apparatus of righteousness: true history, doctrine, the saints of the past and the holy angels, the very forces of nature, and right on up to the direct intervention the Triune Creator.

We also find someone who does not speak in quite the way that we would, and this tempts us to simply dismiss him.  We have seen that a charitable reading gets us past those hurdles and shows us that St. Patrick has much to teach.  My charge to you is to practice this same charity with other believers, ancient and modern, and to emulate the virtues of this fragrant saint.  Make God’s priorities your own; subordinate your desires to His calling and accept the trials that come your way.  As with Patrick, some of those trials will be God’s judgment on your sins, and you must acknowledge the justice of God’s judgment and repent.  Other trials will be the result of the world hating you for the same reasons that it hated Jesus, and you should accept those trials in the same manner that Christ did.  As we align ourselves with God’s requirements in this way—that is, as we trust God in the way that Patrick did, we will be able to call upon God boldly for protection, and to say with the psalmist, “In God I have put my trust; what can man do to me?”

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Read Patrick’s own writings at Irish Christian.

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