There is a lovely stained glass window of St Patrick in the North Aisle of St Chrysostom’s Church. (To see a photo of the full window click here).
On today, his day, here is a thought arising from his life, by a Dominican Priest, Euan Marley:
Patrick describes himself as ‘countrified’, literally a rustic, and … in Patrick’s book ‘Confession’ the … language and culture is scarred. Yet Patrick himself is a man scarred by experience, and the book speaks of his heart.
Patrick had a conversion in Ireland like no other great Christian of the early Church. Conversion stories up until then stressed the intellectual process. St Patrick lived in the same century as St Augustine, at least in the second half of Augustine’s life, and Augustine was to demonstrate out of his own great learning that conversion could never be a purely intellectual process. God transcends the human intellect, and only grace can bring us into the heart of God’s life. Patrick was to find this truth without learning. He learned to pray in Ireland, and prayer would be the beginning and end of his conversion. When tempted by doubts he would pray, and his path to God was always a pathway of prayer. When he escaped from Ireland, he was responding to prayer. ‘The boat is ready’, were the words he felt he could hear. When they refused him entry to the boat which he found in a port, then he prayed again. They changed their mind.