Thursday, March 17, 2011

Patrick's Rage

Here follows a brief excerpt from st. Patrick’s lesser known work, his Epistola Militibus Cororici. It was written in response to the enslavement of some of Patrick's flock by men under the control of a minor British king, Coroticus. So Patrick, the former slave, rails against the injustice of slavery; it is passionate, moving and well worth a read. Despite what we sometimes read of st. Patrick and the 'Celtic Church', here in his own words he calls the Irish 'barbarians' and 'apostates' and the Romans 'holy'!

I am Patrick, yes a sinner and indeed untaught; yet I am established here in Ireland where I profess myself bishop. I am certain in my heart that "all that I am," I have received from God. So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile for the love of God. He himself testifies that this is so. I never would have wanted these harsh words to spill from my mouth; I am not in the habit of speaking so sharply. Yet now I am driven by the zeal of God, Christ's truth has aroused me. I speak out too for love of my neighbors who are my only sons; for them I gave up my home country, my parents and even pushing my own life to the brink of death. If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.

I myself have composed and written these words with my own hand, so that they can be given and handed over, then sent swiftly to the soldiers of Coroticus. I am not addressing my own people, nor my fellow citizens of the holy Romans, but those who are now become citizens of demons by reason of their evil works. They have chosen, by their hostile deeds, to live in death; comrades of the Irish and Picts and of all who behave like apostates, bloody men who have steeped themselves in the blood of innocent Christians. The very same people I have begotten for God; their number beyond count, I myself confirmed them in Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment