|St. Patrick, Evangelical Catholic?|
|Written by Sherry|
|Monday, 17 March 2008 12:05|
Here's a lovely post about St. Patrick - on the day that would be his feast day but isn't this year because it is also the Monday of Holy Week. The blogger is pretty obviously Protestant but also obviously making a good faith effort to honor a man whom he has not been accustomed to honor.
Patrick returned to Ireland. He preached to the pagan tribes in the Irish language he had learned as a slave. His willingness to take the Gospel to the least likely and the least lovely people imaginable was met with extraordinary success. And that success would continue for over the course of nearly half a century of evangelization, church planting, and social reform. He would later write that God’s grace had so blessed his efforts that “many thousands were born again unto God.” Indeed, according to the early church chronicler Killen, “There can be no reasonable doubt that Patrick preached the Gospel, that he was a most zealous and efficient evangelist, and that he is entitled to be called the Apostle of Ireland.”
We know that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to “those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matthew 5:10) and that great “blessings” and “rewards” eventually await those who have been “insulted,” “slandered,” and “sore vexed” who nevertheless persevere in their high callings (Matthew 5:12-13). We know that often it is in “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, tumults, labors, sleeplessness, and hunger” (2 Corinthians 6:4-5) that our real mettle is proven. Nevertheless, we often forget that these things are not simply to be endured. They actually frame our greatest calling. They lay the foundations for our most effective ministries. It is when, like Patrick, we come to love God’s enemies and ours that we are set free for great effectiveness.
I couldn't help but laugh while being simultaneously moved by that last paragraph.
"Born again"? Holy Mother of God! Didn't St. Patrick know that his use of that phrase is a sure sign of infiltration by evangelical Protestant influences? Course, it would have to be a prophetic infiltration since Protestantism wouldn't exist for another 1000 years. Hey, but saints can do stuff like that, right?
Or maybe, just maybe - the whole "born again" -"evangel"-evangelization thing wasn't born with the Reformation. Maybe it is older than Ireland and as Catholic as St. Patrick.