The Confession of Saint Patrick by St. Patrick, edited by D.R. Howlett

(Liguori: Triumph, 461/1994), 112


by Lawrence S. Cunningham (Notre Dame)

  • This is one of Patrick's two extant works: Confesio and Epistola (Letter to Coroticus)
  • St. Patrick was not the first bishop of Ireland, but his mission was one of the first to evangelize non-Christians outside the Roman Empire
  • "Confession" as used by Patrick and St. Augustine in his ~Confessions is both an admission of sin and an act of faith
  • Patrick's Confession shares parallels with other "prison" experiences by saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross in his Spiritual Canticle (cf. the 2017-11-01-The Vanishing American Adult talking about prison literature)
  • Patrick's Confession is marked by its deep Trinitarian faith and sense of mission
  • Breastplate of St. Patrick
  • "Patrick's Confessio is saturated with the presence of Christ who is present in the world in an almost palpable fashion." (25)
  • "To be a Catholic Christian is not only a matter of adhering to a creed. It is, rather , to enter into a story that is both retold in the proclamation of the gospel and reenacted in those rituals we call sacraments." (26)

Translator's Introduction

  • Memorize Scripture: "If Patrick was a homo unius libri (a man of one book), he had read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested that book." (31-32)

Part 1

Summary: Genesis and Exodus: Patrick's beginnings and captivity.

  • "I, Patrick, a sinner..."
  • "And there the Lord opened the consciousness of my unbelief...and kept watch over me before I knew Him" (46-47)
  • Education: "strip naked my unlearnedness" (54)
  • St. Patrick Church Columbus' motto: "to make known the gift of God" notum facere donum Dei (58)

Part 2

Summary: Exodus: Patrick's escape from captivity.

  • "The Spirit helps the weaknesses of our prayer." (72)

Part 3

Summary: Leviticus: ecclesiastical authorities and status.

Part 4

Summary: Numbers: Patrick's account of his sacramental ministry.

  • Chastity: "But the inimical flesh always drags toward death, that is, toward allurements to be dealt with illicitly, and I know in part why I have not lived a perfect life, just as the others also believing, but I confess to my Lord, and I do not blush for shame in His sight." (94)

Part 5

Summary: Deuteronomy: Patrick's preparation for death.

  • Pride: "For honor suffices which is not yet seen but is believed in the heart." (104)
  • "If I have accomplished or demonstrated any small was the gift of God." (111-112)

Topic: St. Patrick

Source: 2022-03-06-Sun UA Library sale

New Words

  • ersatz: being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation (22)
  • chiasmus: A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures, as in "Each throat / Was parched, and glazed each eye" (Samuel Taylor Coleridge).

Created: 2022-03-06-Sun
Updated: 2023-01-13-Fri