339) St. Patrick in His Own Words (part two of three)

Ruins of St. Patrick’s Church, Wexford, Ireland
Patrick Escapes, Guided by a Voice
     And it was there that one night in my sleep I heard a voice saying to me, “…Soon you will depart for your home country.”  And again, a short time later, there was a voice saying:  “Behold, your ship is ready.”  But the sea was not close by (as I was to learn it was two hundred miles away), and I had never been there, nor did I know any person on the way.  But shortly thereafter I ran away and fled from the man with whom I had been for six years (as a slave).  I traveled, by the power of God who directed my route (I was afraid of nothing), until I reached that ship.  On the same day that I arrived, the ship was setting out from that place, and I told them on the ship that I wanted to sail with them.  But the steersman was displeased and replied in anger, sharply, “By no means attempt to go with us.”  Hearing this, I left them, and on the way I began to pray.  Before the prayer was finished, I heard one of them shouting loudly after me, “Come quickly because the men are calling you.”  And immediately I went back to them and they said to me, “Come, because we are admitting you out of good faith.”  And I had hopes that they would come to faith in Jesus Christ, because they were barbarians.  And so I went with them, and soon we put out to sea.

The Journey

     After three days we reached land, and then for twenty-eight days we journeyed through uninhabited country.  The food ran out and hunger overtook us.  One day the steersman said to me, “Why are we hungry, Christian?  You say your God is great and all-powerful, then why can you not pray for us?  Otherwise, we may perish of hunger.”  I said to them confidently, “Be converted by faith with all your heart to my Lord God, because nothing is impossible for him and everywhere he abounds.  Today he will send you food on your road until you are full.”  And with God’s help this came to pass.  A herd of swine appeared on the road before our eyes, and they slew many of them.  We remained there for two nights, and the men were full of meat and well restored; whereas before this many of them had fainted and would otherwise have been left half dead by the wayside.  After this they gave the utmost thanks to God, and I was highly esteemed in their eyes, and from that day on they had food abundantly.  On the journey God provided us with food and fire and dry weather every day, until on the tenth day we came upon people.

Recalled to Ireland by a Dream

     After a few years I was again in Britain with my parents and kinsfolk, and they welcomed me.  They asked me to promise that after the great tribulations I had endured I would not go anywhere else away from them.  But then one night in a vision, I saw a man whose name was Victoricus.  He came from Ireland bringing innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them.  In the beginning of the letter it said, ‘The Voice of the Irish,’…  and it said they were crying with one voice, ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and again walk among us.’  And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke.  Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord answered their prayers.  And another night I heard a voice say, ‘He who gave his life for you, he it is who speaks within you.’  And thus I awoke, joyful…

    Many gifts were offered to me, with weeping and tears, to keep me from going to Ireland, and those who offered the gifts were offended when I went against the wishes of a good number of my elders and went anyway.  But guided by God, I neither agreed with them nor deferred to them, and this was not by my own grace, but by God who is victorious in me and withstands them all.  All this was so that I might come to the Irish people and preach the Gospel.  And there I would have to endure insults from unbelievers, hear scandal of my travels, endure many persecutions to the extent of prison, and give up my free birthright for the advantage of others.  And if I should be worthy, I am ready to give even my life, without hesitation and most willingly, for His name.  I choose be devoted to God even unto death, if God grant it to me.  God granted me so much grace that through me many people were reborn in God and clergy were ordained everywhere for them.

Acts 16:9-10  —  During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Isaiah 6:8  —  Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I.  Send me!” 
Job 33:14-15  —  For God does speak– now one way, now another– though man may not perceive it.  In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds… 
The peace of God be with you;
The peace of Christ be with you;
The peace of the Spirit be with you;
And with your children;
From the day that we have here today,
Until the day of the end of your lives.
–Irish Blessing