A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Sunday, March 17, 2013
A Raging Celebration for a Raging Saint
Among the many millions who celebrate Irishness every March 17, scarcely any wonder for a second whether there is any historical substance to the figure of St. Patrick, any more than to a host of other medieval wonderworkers. Treating such a tale as serious history, they assume, makes about as much sense as writing a critical biography of the Easter Bunny.
Sadly, such indifference means that moderns are missing a story that is not just rock-solid history, but is one of the most moving in early Christianity.
Normally, reconstructing the life of an early saint means picking through wildly exaggerated tales written centuries after the events occurred, and Patrick's later followers certainly concocted such accounts. Alongside the hagiography, though, we also have Patrick's very own writings. Let me repeat that: we have two documents actually written by the man himself, during a whole century when virtually no other contemporary text survives from the whole British Isles.
Patricius was born in Britain around the year 390, from a respectable Roman family, the son and grandson of Christian clergy. As an adolescent, he was kidnapped by Irish slavers. After some years, he escaped and returned to his native land, but he was persuaded to go back to Ireland to build the cause of Christianity. Though his mission achieved much...
The entire post, "Raging on St. Patrick's Day," can be read here.