Tag Archive: St. Patrick


Doctrine Walks

Now, one day, when [Maccuil-maccu-Greccae] was sitting at this place, he saw St. Patrick radiating with the clear light of faith, and resplendent with a certain wonderful diadem of heavenly glory; he saw him, I say, walking, with unshaken confidence of doctrine, on a road agreeable thereto.

~ Muirchu’s Life of Patrick 23

In effort to continue my Lenten journey with St. Patrick, I came across this little passage. Besides having the most unpronouncable name of any human being in all of history, Maccuil-maccu-Greccae, Muirchu tells us, was “a very ungodly, savage tyrant,” who was “depraved in his thoughts, violent in his words, malicious in his deeds, bitter in spirit, wrathful in disposition, villainous in body, cruel in mind, heathenish in life, monstrous in conscience, [and] inclining to … a depth of ungodliness.” Yet Maccuil sees St. Patrick for who he truly is: “radiating with the clear light of faith, and resplendent with a certain wonderful diadem of heavenly glory.” This does not stop him from plotting to deceive and murder St. Patrick, but if I may cut to the chase, all ends well for both of them. My concern is not so much with Maccuil here, however, but with St. Patrick, who walked “with unshaken confidence of doctrine, on a road agreeable thereto.” Continue reading

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The Practice of the Cross

Of his diligence in prayer, we shall try to write down only a few details out of the many things that might be said about Patrick. Daily, whether he was staying in one place or traveling along the road, he used to sing all “the psalms and hymns” and the Apocalypse of John “and” all “the spiritual songs” of the scriptures. No less than a hundred times in each hour of the day and each hour of the night he made the sign of the triumphant cross upon himself; and at every cross he saw as he traveled, he used to get down from his chariot and turn toward it in order to pray.

~ The Life of Patrick 2.1

For St. Patrick the saying of St. Paul, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), was a matter of daily practice, a matter of spiritual discipline. He did not reduce it to a matter of theological speculation. That is not to say that we ought not to think philosophically about the cross, but that it is a danger to reduce it to that. It is also, importantly, a present reality. The cross of Christ becomes our cross as we “take up [our] cross daily, and follow [him]” (Luke 9:23). Continue reading