You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.
Who was the real St Patrick? with Michael Keating
Michael Keating rejoins the SS102fm to reflect on the upcoming celebration of our national day and asks the question who was St Patrick? Like so many Christian feasts and festivals, St Patrick’s Day has been somewhat hijacked - St Patrick has about as much to do with a pint of Guinness as St Valentine has to do with a box of chocolates and a romantic meal for two. But what does this saint, so strong in missionary zeal and about whom we know very little, have to do with our modern day celebrations?
While we have many legends about St Patrick, it is makes sense to look to see what writings the saint himself has left us which are regarded as some of the earliest literature from Ireland to discover who he was. The answer to the question comes from his Confessio itself.
"My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner. I was about sixteen at the time.
At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland,along with thousands of others. We deserved this, because we had gone away from God,and did not keep his commandments. We would not listen to our priests, who advised us about how we could be saved. We have gone aside from your commandments … we have not listened to your servants the prophets".The Lord brought his strong anger upon us, and scattered us among many nations even to the ends of the earth. It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was."
In the very opening paragraphs of the autobiography, St Patrick offers a meditation on the gift of faith and the praise that we owe in return to God for such a gift. Perhaps this is St Patrick’s greatest relevance, particularly in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to declarations of faith. He refuses to stay quiet; his evangelising zeal comes from knowing that he must speak to others of Christ:
“That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay such blessings, when our lives change and we come to know God, to praise and bear witness to his great wonders before every nation under heaven.”
Both are written in a very easy to read style which makes sense if you consider that Patrick's education was interrupted when he was taken as a slave. Have a look and a quick read through as it is not very long or difficult and as they say, hear it straight from the horses mouth.
We should enjoy the celebrations of St Patrick’s Day, but also remember Christ’s call to conversion in our lives; a call to conversion and change that St Patrick felt so strongly that he left behind everything he had and followed Jesus so that he might bring the gospel to others.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”