PatrickI am presuming to try to grasp in my old age what I did not gain in my youth because my sins prevented me from making what I had read my own.

[…] I am unable to explain as the spirit is eager to do and as the soul and the mind indicate. But, had it been given to me as to others, in gratitude I should not have kept silent.

And if it should appear that I put myself before others, with my ignorance and my slower speech, in truth, it is written: ‘The tongue of the stammerers shall speak rapidly and distinctly.’

How much harder must we try to attain it, we of whom it is said: ‘You are an epistle of Christ in greeting to the ends of the earth…written on your hearts, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.’

And again, the Spirit witnessed that the rustic life was created by the Most High. I am, then, first of all, countryfied, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall.

And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and forever, that the mind of man cannot measure.

Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things?

Me, truly wretched in this world, he inspired before others that I could be–if I would–such a one who, with fear and reverence, and faithfully, without complaint, would come to the people to whom the love of Christ brought me and gave me in my lifetime, if I should be worthy, to serve them truly and with humility.

According, therefore, to the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity, one should proceed without holding back from danger to make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, to spread God’s name everywhere with confidence and without fear, in order to leave behind, after my death, foundations for my brethren and sons whom I baptized in the Lord in so many thousands.

Patrick (387?-493?): The Confession of St Patrick, 10-14.

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