A Glimpse at the Character of Patrick
Feast Day 17 March
We remember and we celebrate
the life of this remarkable yet ordinary man,
Patricius, aka Patrick.
'We beseech thee holy youth, come and walk among us again'. This was the message from an Irish person in a dream that Patricius had, circa age 40. Previously Patricius had spent several of his teenage years as a slave in Ireland.
Patrick's impact on 5th century Ireland was multiplied far beyond the Irish shores, via his colleagues and their progeny, his example, and his autobiography, The Confessions of St. Patrick. His opening sentence in The Confessions reflects both his humility and his perseverance:
"Ego Patricius, peccator, rusticissimus..."
I am Patrick,
a sinner, most unlearned,
the least of all the faithful,
and utterly despised by many.
Personally, I ignore most of the pious legends about him, along with the various socio-political versions that obfuscate who he really was. I rather connect with his character, his passion for God, and his commitment to humans. We salute you Patricius, with or without a pint of stout in our hands, and we salute all those courageous enough to follow your example.*Refelction and Discussion
*The life work (apostolate) of Patricius began in his 40s. It took awhile for him to "find" his flow, niche, and anointing. Any applications to your life, to mission/aid workers, and/or to the life of member care practitioners?
*Patricius was a slave at one point, in his youth. This took awhile too (about six years of his life, until he escaped with guidance from a dream/vision)! Any applications for you and/or others? Try relating this experience to John 21--'when you are older, someone else will gird you and lead you to places where you may not want to go...'
*What character qualities do you see in Patricius via his opening declaration in The Confessions? What can we learn from this brief glimpse of who he was?