Friday, March 6, 2015

St. Patrick's Confessio: Section 5 - 10

In section 5 - 10 (all very brief...a sentence or two each), he talks about how he feels inadequate in his speech, since, because he was kidnapped in his youth and taken to a foreign country, he is essentially speaking in a second language, and also lacked the education others have had.

I blush and am afraid to expose my lack of experience, because I can’t express myself with the brief words I would like in my heart and soul.

To me, St. Patricks words seem skilled and poetic, but that may be the skill of the translator as much as his own...since it was originally written in Latin.

When I started reading the Confessio, I just jumped in, without looking up any background.  I decided to do some brief research today into when, why, and what language it was written in.  I learned from other sources that St.Patrick wrote his Confessio some time in the 5th century.  It seems to be written in response to some sort of allegations against him from the church at "home" about something in his past, and his motives for his missionary work may have been called into question as well (as there are many places where he seems to be defending that he was not doing this for financial gain, by sharing how he returned gifts and refused payment for services he performed).  

These are the circumstances that appear to have prompted Patrick to write his Confessio; but it is more than a mere apologia. It is a testimony to Patrick’s personal faith and trust in God, to whom he attributes the entire success of his mission in Ireland. In effect he is saying to his critics: ‛Look at the outcome of my mission here in Ireland, judge it by its results, and realise that without God’s help it would not have come to fruition at all’.

Getting back to this section of the Confessio, it makes me  think of some of the people I know who have "jumped cultures"--who have traveled to other countries to spread the Gospel.   Many struggle with speaking in their new language, but since St. Patrick was writing in Latin, not the Irish language, it  seems he's struggling to write again in his native tongue.   If missionaries today struggle to stay connected to those at home, even with modern technologies like the internet and phones, and opportunities to come home on furlough every few years...consider how hard it must have been in the past, when even sending a letter home took considerable resources.

Click below to find the entire text of
St. Patrick's Confessio


Sources:  Wikipedia and Confessio Forward.

Read My Commentary on Previous Sections

Are you reading along in the Confessio?  Please share your thoughts on this section in the comments below.

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