St. Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland. At some point during his life his character had been attacked by powerful people in Ireland. It was at this time, the year 1853, that Patrick penned a brief document that was a glance at his life and theology, his conversion, trials, suffering, surrendering, seeking for Jesus. It is a powerful reminder for our own lives of the price of pursuing Christ and the foundational beliefs we stand on spiritually for ourselves and our families.
I, Patrick, a sinner, quite uncultivated and the least of all the faithful and utterly despicable to many, had as my father the deacon Calpornius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, who belonged to the town of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small estate nearby, and it was there that I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years old. I did not know the true God and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with so many thousands; and we deserved it, because we drew away from God and did not keep His commandments and did not obey our priests who kept reminding us of our salvation; and the Lord brought on us the fury of His anger and scattered us among many peoples even to the ends of the earth, where now I in my insignificance find myself among foreigners.
And there the Lord opened up my awareness of my unbelief, so that I might, however late, remember my faults and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my lowly estate and took pity on my youth and ignorance and watched over me before I knew Him and before I learned sense or could distinguish between good and evil and who protected me and comforted me as a father might his son.
And, therefore, I cannot keep silent—nor in fact would it be proper to do so—about the great benefits and grace which the Lord has deigned to confer on me in the land of my captivity; because this is our way of giving thanks, after being chastised by God and acknowledging Him to glorify and declare His wonders before every nation under the whole of heaven.
For there is no other God, nor ever was before nor will be hereafter except for God the Father, unbegotten, without beginning, from whom is all beginning, possessing all things, as we have learned; and His son Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have existed always with the Father, before the beginning of the world spiritually with the Father, begotten ineffably before all beginning; and by Him were things visible and invisible; He was made man; He conquered death and was received up into heaven to the Father; and He gave Him all power over every name of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, that every tongue should confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God; in whom we believe, and we look to His imminent coming, as judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each one according to his deeds; and He poured out on us abundantly His Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality, who makes those who believe and obey to be sons of God and heirs along with Christ, Him we confess and worship as one God in the Trinity of sacred name.
For He Himself said through His prophet: ‘Call on Me in the day of your distress, and I shall deliver you and you will glorify Me.’ (Psalms 50:15) And again He says: ‘It is honorable to declare and proclaim the works of God.’
Though I am imperfect in many respects, I wish my brothers and kinsfolk to know what sort of man I am, so that they may be able to conceive of my soul’s desire. I am well aware of the affirmation of my Lord, who declares in the psalm: ‘You shall destroy those who speak a lie.’ (Psalms 5:6) And again He says: ‘The lying mouth kills the soul.’ And, likewise, the Lord says in the gospel: ‘As for the idle word which men speak, they shall give account for it in the day of judgement.’ (Matthew 12:36)
And therefore, I ought to dread with great fear and trembling this sentence on that day when no-one will be able to steal away or hide, but we shall all, yes all, have to give account for even the smallest of our sins before the judgement-seat of Christ the Lord.
Therefore, I have long had it in mind to write but have in fact hesitated up till now, for I was afraid to expose myself to the criticism of men’s tongues, because I have not studied like others, who have successfully imbibed both law and Holy Scripture alike and have never
changed their language from infancy but rather have always been bringing it nearer to perfection. For my words and style have been translated into a foreign language; that, and how I was taught and educated to express myself, can easily be gathered from the flavor of my writing, because, it is written, ‘The wise man will be recognized by his speech, and so too will understanding and knowledge and the teaching of truth.’
But what is the point of excuses, however truthful, especially when linked with my audacity in aspiring now, in my old age, to what I did not acquire in my youth? For my sins prevented me from consolidating what I had previously read through. But who believes me even if I repeat what I have said before? As a youth, indeed almost a boy without any beard, I was taken captive, before I knew what to desire and what I ought to avoid. And so, then, today I am ashamed and terrified to expose my awkwardness, because, being inarticulate, I am unable to explain briefly what I mean, as my mind and spirit long and the inclination of my heart indicates.
But if I had in fact had the same privileges as others, out of gratitude I should not keep silent, and if by chance certain people feel that I am pushing myself forward in this for all my ignorance and slow tongue, it is, after all, written: ‘The stammering tongues
shall quickly learn to speak peace.’ (Isaiah 32:4)..How much more ought we to make that our aim, since we are, as it is written, ‘The letter of Christ for salvation to the ends of the earth,’ ‘It has been written in your hearts not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.’ (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) And again the Spirit declares that rusticity too was created by the Most High.
And so, I am in the first place countrified, an exile, yes, unlearned, with no idea of how to look to the future; but this I know for certain, that in fact before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mud; and He that is mighty come and in His mercy lifted me up and indeed raised me up and placed me on the top of the wall; and so I ought to shout out aloud to render some thanks to the Lord for His great benefits here and forever, benefits which the human mind cannot assess.
So then, be amazed, you great and small that fear God, and you clerical intellectuals, listen and take stock. Who raised me up, a fool, from the midst of those who seem to be wise and learned in the law and powerful in speaking and all else, and inspired me in preference to others, execrated as I am by this world, to prove fit to help (if only I could!), faithfully, with fear and reverence and without complaint, the people to which the love of Christ brought and gave me for the rest of my life, if I am worthy; in short, to serve them sincerely and with humility?
And so in accordance with the measure of one’s faith in the Trinity one ought to be explicit and to make known God’s gift and His everlasting consolation without jibbing at the danger, and to spread God’s name everywhere confidently and fearlessly, so that even after my death I may leave a legacy to my brethren and sons whom I baptized in so many thousands in the Lord.
And I was not worthy nor such that the Lord should grant His humble servant this, should, after such trials and hardships, after captivity and a long period of years, give me such grace in regard to that people—something which I never hoped for nor imagined in the days of my youth.
But after I reached Ireland, well, I pastured the flocks every day and I used to pray many times a day; more and more did my love of God and my fear of Him increase, and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred, and as a result I would say up to a hundred prayers in one day, and almost as many at night; I would even stay in the forests and on the mountain and would wake to pray before dawn in all weathers, snow, frost, rain; and I felt no harm and there was no listlessness in me—as I now realize, it was because the Spirit was fervent within me.
And it was in fact there that one night while asleep I heard a voice saying to me: ‘You do well to fast, since you will soon be going to your home country; and again, very shortly after, I heard this prophecy: ‘See, your ship is ready.’ And it was not near at hand but was perhaps two hundred miles away, and I had never been there and did not know a living soul there. And then I soon ran away and abandoned the man with whom I had been for six years, and I came in God’s strength, for He granted me a successful journey and I had nothing to fear, till I reached that ship.
Now on the very day that I arrived the ship was launched, and I said that I had the wherewithal for my passage with them; and as for the captain, he was not pleased and replied sharply and with annoyance: ‘You will be wasting your time asking to go with us.’ On hearing this I left them to go to the hut where I was staying, and on the way I began to pray and before I had finished my prayer I heard one of them; he was shouting loudly after me: ‘Come quickly, they are calling you.’ And immediately I returned to them and they proceeded to say to me: ‘Come, we are taking you on trust; make friends with us in whatever way you wish.’… (I had hopes of their coming to faith in Jesus Christ, because they were pagans), and as a result I got a place with them, and we set sail at once.
Three days later we made land and we travelled through a wilderness for twenty-eight days, and they ran out of food and hunger overtook them, and the next day the captain approached me and said: ‘What about it, Christian? You say your god is great and all-powerful; well then, why can you not pray for us? We are in danger of starving; there is little chance of our ever seeing a living soul.’ I told them confidently: ‘Turn trustingly and with all your heart to the Lord my God - because nothing is impossible for Him; and this day He will send you food for your journey until you are fully satisfied; for He has an abundance everywhere.’ And with God’s help it turned out so; lo and behold, a herd of pigs appeared in the way before our eyes, and they killed many of them and stayed there for two nights and fully recovered and had their fill of the pigs’ meat, for many of them had collapsed and been left half-dead by the wayside; and after this they gave grateful thanks to God, and I gained great respect in their eyes, and from that day they had plenty of food. They even found some wild honey and offered me a piece; and one of them said: ‘It is a sacrifice.’ Thanks be to God, I tasted none of it.
Now that same night I was asleep, and Satan attacked me violently, something which I shall remember as long as I am in this body; and there fell on top of me a huge rock, as it were, and I was completely paralyzed. But what gave me, in my spiritual ignorance, the idea of calling on Helias? And meanwhile I saw the sun rising in the sky and on shouting ‘Helias, Helias’ with all my might, see, the brilliance of that sun fell on me and at once shook me free of all the weight; and I believe that I was aided by Christ my Lord and that His Spirit was already crying out for me, and I hope that it will be so in the day of my affliction, as He says in the gospel: ‘In that day,’ the Lord declares, ‘it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father who speaks within you.’ (Matthew 10:19-20)
(And after many years I was once again taken captive. And so, on that first night I stayed with my captors. And I heard a divine voice prophesying to me: ‘You will be with them for two months.’ And so, it came about; sixty nights later the Lord delivered me from their hands.)
Now as we travelled He provided us with food and fire and dry weather every day until on the tenth day we reached human habitation; as I indicated above, we had travelled for twenty-eight days through the wilderness and on the night that we reached human habitation we had in fact no food left.
And again a few years later I was in Britain with my kinsfolk, and they welcomed me as a son and asked me earnestly not to go off anywhere and leave them this time, after the great tribulations which I had been through. And it was there that I saw one night in a vision a
man coming as it were from Ireland (his name was Victoricus), with countless letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the heading of the letter, ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ and as I read these opening words aloud, I imagined at that very instant that I heard the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea; and thus they cried, as though with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us;’ and I was stung with remorse in my heart and could not read on, and so I awoke. Thanks be to God, that after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.
And another night (I do not know, God knows, whether it was within me or beside me) I was addressed in words which I heard and yet could not understand, except that at the end of the prayer He spoke thus: ‘He who gave His life for you, He it is who speaks within you,’ and so I awoke, overjoyed.
And again I saw Him praying within me and I was, as it were, inside my own body and I heard Him above me, that is to say above my inner self, and He was praying there powerfully and groaning; and meanwhile I was dumbfounded and astonished and wondered who it could be that was praying within me, but at the end of the prayer He spoke and said that He was the Spirit, and so I awoke and remembered the apostle’s words: ‘The Spirit helps the weaknesses of our prayer; for we do not know what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspeakable groans which cannot be expressed in words;’ (Romans 8:26) and again: ‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’ (cf. 1 John 2:1)
And when I was attacked by a number of my elders, who came and brought up my sins against my arduous episcopate, certainly that day I was struck a heavy blow so that I might fall here and forever; but the Lord graciously spared me, who was a stranger in a foreign land for His name’s sake, and He helped me greatly when I was trampled underfoot in this way. I pray God that it may not be reckoned to them as a sin that I well and truly fell into disgrace and scandal.
After thirty years, they found a pretext for their allegations against me in a confession which I had made before I was a deacon. In a depressed and worried state of mind I mentioned to a close friend what I had done as a boy one day, indeed in the space of one hour, because I was not yet proof against temptation. I do not know, God knows, whether I was fifteen years old at the time, and I did not believe in the living God, nor had I done since earliest childhood; but I remained in death and unbelief till I was severely chastened and in truth humiliated by hunger and nakedness, and every day too.
On the other hand, I did not go to Ireland of my own accord, until I was nearly at the end of my strength; but this was really rather to my own good, since as a result I was reformed by the Lord, and He fitted me to be today what was once far from me, that I should be concerned and busily active for the salvation of others, whereas at that time took no thought even for myself.
Therefore, on the day on which I was rejected by the aforesaid and abovementioned, that same night I saw in a vision a document opposite my face, without honor, and meanwhile I heard a divine prophecy saying to me: ‘We were grieved to see the face of our elect with his name stripped of all honor;’ and He did not say: ‘You were grieved to see,’ but ‘We were grieved to see,’ [as though He included Himself with him], just as He said: ‘He that touches you is as he that touches the apple of My eye.’ (Zechariah 2:8)
And so I give thanks to Him who strengthened me in all things, so as not to hinder me from setting out on the journey on which I had decided and also from my work which I had learned from Christ my Lord, but rather I felt within me considerable strength as a result, and my faith was proved before God and man. And so I say boldly, my conscience does not reproach me here or hereafter. God is my witness that I have not lied in my account to you.
But rather I feel sorry for my close friend, that we deserved to hear such a prophecy as this. A man to whom I have entrusted my very soul! And I learned from a number of the brethren before that defense of my case (at which I was not present, nor was I in Britain, nor did I initiate it) that he would take up the cudgels for me (come to my defense): he had even told me himself from his own mouth: ‘See, you should be raised to the rank of bishop’—which I did not deserve. But how did he take it into his head afterwards, publicly, before everyone good and evil, to discredit me for something which he had previously been glad to pardon of his own accord, as had the Lord too, who is greater than all?
Enough said. But still, I ought not to conceal God’s gift which He lavished on us in the land of my captivity, because then I sought Him earnestly and I found Him there, and He protected me from all evils, as I believe, because of His Spirit dwelling in me, which has been at work within me up to the present day. Another bold statement; but God knows, if it were a man who had told me this, perhaps I would have kept silent for the love of Christ.
And so I give untiring thanks to my God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently make an offering to Him of my soul as a living sacrifice to Christ my Lord, who protected me from all my afflictions, so that I may also say: who am I, Lord, or what is my calling, that You appeared to me in such divine power, so that today among the heathen I might steadfastly exalt and magnify Your name wherever I find myself, and not only in success but also in affliction? And so whatever happens to me, be it good or bad, I should accept it calmly and always give thanks to God who showed me that I might place implicit and unlimited trust in Him, and who helped me so that I, for all my ignorance, should in the last days venture to undertake such devout and wonderful work, so that I should follow to some extent the example of those who the Lord long ago foretold would proclaim His gospel as a testimony to all the nations before the end of the world - and so we have seen and so it has been fulfilled. Look, we are witnesses that the gospel has been preached to the point beyond which there is no one.
But it would be tedious to relate all my labors in detail or even partially, I shall briefly tell how God in His great mercy on many occasions freed me from slavery and from the twelve dangers in which my life was threatened, quite apart from many traps and things which I cannot put into words. I should not like to cause offence to my readers; but God is my witness, who knows all things even before they happen, that He frequently gave me a warning in a divine prophecy, despite my being a poor waif and uneducated.
From where did this vision come to me? It was not within me, who neither knew the number of my days nor had any knowledge of God. From where did that gift, so great and so salutary, afterwards comes the gift of knowing and loving God, but at the cost of losing family and homeland?
And I was offered many gifts, with weeping and tears, and I offended them, and I also acted against the wishes of a number of my elders, but under God’s guidance I refused to agree or defer to them; not that it was my grace, it was God, who is victorious in me and withstands them all, when I came to the peoples of Ireland to preach the gospel and endure insults from unbelievers; and to hear criticism of my travels; and to endure many persecutions, even to the extent of being put in prison, and to give my freedom for the benefit of others, and, if I so deserve, I am ready to give even my life without delay and joyfully for His name; and I wish to expend it there even to the point of death, if God would so grant me.
Because I am very much God’s debtor; for He granted me such grace that through me many peoples should be reborn in God and afterwards be confirmed and that clergy should everywhere be ordained for them, to serve a people just now coming to the faith, and which the Lord chose from the ends of the earth, as He had provided of old through His prophets: ‘The nations will come to you from the ends of the earth and will say: “How false the idols are which our fathers made for themselves; they are quite useless;”’ (Jeremiah 16:19) and again: ‘I have put you as a light among the nations, to be a means of salvation to the ends of the earth.’ (Acts 13:47)
And I wish to wait there for His promise (and He of course never deceives), as He promises in the gospel: ‘They shall come from the east and from the west and shall sit down at table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,’ (Matthew 8:11) as we believe that believers will surely come from the whole world.
And so then, it is our duty to fish well and diligently, as the Lord urges and teaches us, saying: ‘Follow me, and I shall make you become fishers of men;’ (Matthew 4:19) and again He says through the prophets: ‘See, I send many fishers and hunters, says God;’ (Jeremiah 16:16) etc. And so it was our bounden duty to spread our nets, so that a vast multitude and throng might be caught for God and there might be clergy everywhere to baptize and exhort a people that was poor and needy, as the Lord says—He urges and teaches in the gospel, saying: ‘So go now, teach all nations, baptizing them; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and see, I am with you every single day right to the end of the world;’ (Matthew 28:19-20) and again He says: ‘Go therefore into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that does not believe shall be damned;’ (Mark 16:15-16) and again: ‘This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations; and then the end shall come.’ (Matthew 24:14) And likewise the Lord foretells through the prophet, saying: ‘And it will be in the last days, says the Lord, I shall pour out of My spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men dream dreams, and indeed in those days I shall pour out of My spirit upon My servants and My maidservants and they will prophesy;’ (Acts 2:17-18; cf. Joel 2:28-29) and in Hosea He says: ‘A people that is not Mine I shall call My people, and a people that has not obtained mercy I shall call one that has obtained mercy. And it shall be in the place where it was said: “You are not My people”—in that place they will be called the sons of the living God.’ (Romans 9:25-26; cf. Hosea 1:9-10)
And how has it lately come about in Ireland that those who never had any knowledge of God but up till now always worshipped idols and abominations are now called the people of the Lord and the sons of God, and sons and daughters of Irish under-kings are seen to be monks and virgins of Christ?
And there was also a blessed lady of native Irish birth and high rank, very beautiful and grown up, whom I baptized; and a few days later she found some reason to come to us and indicated that she had received a message from an angel of God, and the angel had urged her too to become a virgin of Christ and to draw near to God.
Thanks be to God, six days later she most commendably and enthusiastically took up that same course that all virgins of God also do—not with their fathers’ consent; no, they endure persecution and their own parents’ unfair reproaches, and yet their number grows larger and larger (and we do not know the numbers of our family of faith who have been reborn there), not to mention widows and the self-denying. But it is the women kept in slavery who suffer especially; they even have to endure constant threats and terrorization; but the Lord has given grace to many of His handmaidens, for though they are forbidden to do so, they resolutely follow His example.
And so even if I wanted to part with them and head for Britain—and I would have been only too glad to do so, to see my homeland and family; and not only that, but to go on to Gaul to visit the brethren and to see the face of my Lord’s holy men; God knows that I longed to, but I am bound by the Spirit who testifies to me that if I do so He will mark me out as guilty, and I am afraid of wasting the labor which I have begun—and not I, but Christ the Lord who commanded me to come to be with them for the rest of my life, if the Lord so desire and shield me from every evil way, so that I may not sin before Him.
Now I hope that I did what was right, but I do not trust myself for as long as I am in this mortal body, because he is strong who strives daily to turn me away from the faith and from the purity of true religion to which I aspire to the end of my life for Christ my Lord; but the hostile flesh is always dragging me down to death, in other words to indulgence in illicit temptations; and I know in part why I have not led a perfect life like other believers, but I declare it to my Lord and do not blush in His sight, because I am not lying; since I came to know Him, from my youth the love of God and fear of Him have grown in me, and up till now, by God’s favor, I have kept the faith.
He who wants to can laugh and jeer, but I shall not keep silent nor keep hidden the signs and wonders which have been shown me by the Lord many years before they took place, as He knows all things, even before the world began.
And so I ought to give thanks to God without ceasing; for He often forgave my stupidity, my carelessness, and in more than one instance, so as not to be extremely angry with me, who have been assigned as His helper although I was not quick to give my assent as
had been revealed to me and as the Spirit kept prompting; and the Lord took pity on me thousands and thousands of times, because He saw in me that I was ready but that I did not know what to do in my position; for many tried to prevent this mission and talked among themselves behind my back and said: ‘Why is this fellow walking into danger among enemies who do not know God?’ Not that they were being malicious, but they did not like the idea, as I can myself confirm - take it from me, it was because of my lack of education; and I was not quick to recognize the grace which was then in me; now I appreciate that I should have done so before.
So now I have given an indication in plain terms to my brethren and fellow-servants of Christ who have believed me because of what I have said before and now foretell to strengthen and reinforce your faith. If only you too would make greater efforts and do better. This will be my pride and joy, because ‘a wise son is his father’s pride.’ (Proverbs 10:1)
You know, and so does God, how I have lived among you from my youth in the faith of truth and in sincerity of heart. As for the heathen amongst whom I live, I have always been honest in my dealings with them and always shall be. God knows I have cheated none of them, nor would I think of it, for God and His church’s sake, in case of stirring up persecution against them and all of us and in case the Lord’s name should be blasphemed because of me; for it is written: ‘Woe to the man through whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed.’ (Matthew 18:7)
For though I am entirely untalented, I have done my best to safeguard myself, even in my dealings with Christian brethren and virgins of Christ and with pious women, who would give me unsolicited gifts and throw some of their jewelry on the altar, and I would return it to them, and they would take offence at my doing so; but I did so for the hope of eternity, to safeguard myself carefully in everything so that they would not catch me out or the ministry of my service under some pretext of my dishonesty and so that I would not give unbelievers the slightest opportunity for denigration or disparagement.
But perhaps when I baptized so many thousands I hoped for even a halfpenny from any of them? Tell me, and I will give it back. Or when the Lord everywhere ordained clergy through someone as ordinary as me and I conferred on each of them his function free, if I asked any of them for even so much as the price of my shoe, tell it against me, and I shall give it back to you.
No, rather I spent money on your behalf so that they would accept me, and I travelled amongst you and everywhere for your sake, beset by many dangers, even to the remote districts beyond which there was no one and where no one had ever penetrated to baptize or ordain clergy or confirm the people. With God’s favor, I have produced all these results tirelessly and most gladly for your salvation.
From time to time I gave presents to the kings, quite apart from the payments I made to their sons who travel with me; however, they arrested me and my companions and that day were extremely eager to kill me, but my time had not yet come; they seized everything that they
found on us and put me in irons; and fourteen days later the Lord released me from their power, and we had restored to us all our belongings for God’s sake and the sake of the close friends whom we previously acquired.
But you know from experience how much I have paid to those who administered justice in all the districts, whom I was in the habit of visiting. I reckon that I must have dispensed to them the price of fifteen men at least, so that you may enjoy me and I always enjoy you in God. I have no regrets; indeed, I am not satisfied with that—I still spend and I will spend more. The Lord has it in His power to grant me afterwards that I may spend myself for your souls.
See, I call God as my witness upon my soul that I am not lying; nor would I have thought of writing to you to afford an opportunity for flattery or covetousness, nor is it that I hope for honor from any of you. Sufficient is the honor which is not yet seen but of which the heart is assured; and He that has made the promise is faithful, He never lies.
But I see that even in the present world I have been exalted beyond measure by the Lord, and I did not deserve or merit that He should grant me this, since I am only too well aware that I am better suited to poverty and adversity than riches and luxury (but Christ the Lord too was poor for our sakes, and I now, even if I wanted it), nor is this just myself, because every day I expect to do slavery, or whatever; but I fear none promises of Heaven; for I have cast Almighty God, who reigns everywhere; He will sustain you.’ (Psalm 55:22)
See absolutely, for whom I am an ambassador despite my obscurity, because He is no respecter of persons and He chose me for this task, to be just one among the least of His servants.
And so, I shall give thanks to Him for all His benefits to me. But what shall I say, what shall I promise to my Lord, for I can do nothing unless He grant me it? But let Him search my heart and inmost soul; for I am eager, yes, exceedingly eager, and I was ready for Him to grant me to drink of His cup, as He bestowed it also on His other loving followers.
And so, may God never allow me to be separated from His people which He has won in the ends of the earth. I pray to God to give me perseverance and to deign to grant that I prove a faithful witness to Him until I pass on, for my God’s sake. And if I have ever aimed at any good for my God’s sake, whom I love, I beg Him to grant that I may shed my blood for His name along with those exiles and captives, though I should even go
without burial or my body be torn most pitiably limb from limb for dogs or savage beasts to share or the birds of the air devour it. It is my strong conviction that if this should happen to me, I would have gained my soul as well as my body; for beyond any doubt in that day we shall rise in the sun’s brilliant light, that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our redeemer, to sons of the living God and heirs with Christ and shaped to His likeness; for we shall reign from Him and through Him and in Him.
For this sun which we see rises daily for us at His command, but it will never reign nor its splendor endure; no, all that worship it shall be doomed to dreadful punishment. But we who believe in and worship the true Sun, Christ, who will never perish—nor will anyone who has done His will but he will abide forever just as Christ abides forever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit before the world began and now and for ever and ever. Amen.
See, over and over again I shall briefly set out the words of my declaration. I attest in truth and exultation of heart before God and His holy angels that I never had any cause, except His gospel and His promises, ever to return to that people from which I had previously escaped with difficulty.
But I beg those who believe in and fear God, whoever deigns to look at or receive this document which the unlearned sinner Patrick drew up in Ireland, that no-one should ever say that if I have achieved anything, however trivial, or may have shown the way according to God’s good pleasure, it was my ignorance at work, but consider and accept as the undeniable truth that it would have been God’s gift. And this is my declaration before I die.