Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! To celebrate, why not read this bit of St. Patrick's autobiography, which I translated from Latin? I only translated three and a half paragraphs, though. There are still ten pages left.
The Confession of Saint Patrick,
From the letter written to the Irish
I am Patrick, a sinner, the most simple and least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to many. I had the Deacon Calpurnius for a father, the child of the Potitius the Elder, now deceased, who was in the village of Bonavem Taberniae. He had a nearby village, Enon, where I was taken captive. I was roughly sixteen years old then. I did not know the true God, and I was taken in captivity to Ireland, with a thousand men, according to what we deserved, because we wandered from God and did not keep his precepts, and we were not obedient to our priests who reminded us of our salvation; and the Lord brought the anger of his being upon us, and he scattered us in many countries, all the way to the end of the Earth, where now my small self is seen among foreigners. And there the Lord revealed my unbelief to me, so that even at so late an hour, I would remember my offenses, and I would return with my whole heart to the Lord my God; who looked upon my lowliness and had pity on my youth and ignorance, and who guarded me before I knew him, before I could think sensibly or distinguish between good and evil, and who protected me and consoled me, as father does his son.
Therefore, I cannot be silent, and certainly it is not useful to be silent, seeing how much kindness and grace He showed to me in the land of my captivity. For this is my repayment: that even after my correction, I would praise the knowledge of God and openly confess his wonders to every nation which is under heaven. Because there is, never was, and never will be another god besides God the Father, who is unbegotten and without beginning, from whom everything has its begining, and who holds everything together in himself, just as we have said. And his son Jesus Christ, whom we believe was undoubteldy with the Father before the beginning of time, one in being with the Father, indescribably born before all beginnings, and through him all things were made, things visible and invisible. He became man, conquered death, and the Father received him in heaven. And he gave all power; the name above every other name in heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth, so that every tongue would confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God (Phillipians 2: 10, 11). We believe this, and we look forward to his second coming, when he will be the judge of the living and of the dead, who will reward everyone according to their deeds. And he abundantly poured the gift of the Holy Spirit upon us, the Spirit which is the promise of immortality, which makes us believers and obedient, so that we are children of God the Father and co-inheritors with Christ, who we confess and adore, one God in a Trinity of sacred names. As he said through the prophet: Call upon me in the day of your trial, and I will free you, and you will glorify me (Jeremiah 29:12; Psalm 80:8). And again, he said, Therefore it is right to reveal and confess the works of God (Tobit 12:7).
However, even though I am imperfect in many things, I wish for my brothers and kinsmen to know my condition, so that they will be able to understand the desire of my soul. I do not forget the testimony of my God which is said in the psalm: You destroy those who speak lies (Psalm 5:7) and again, He who lies kills the soul (Wisdom 1: 11). And the same Lord says in the Gospel On the Day of Judgment, men will give account for the careless words they utter (Matthew 12:36). Therefore, I earnestly fear this judgment on that day with terror and trembling, that day when no one will be able to cover up or hide himself, but all people will report their reasons for even the smallest sins before the seat of Christ the Lord. Because of this, I have thought about writing in the past, but up until now, I have hesitated to write anything. For I feared I would be attacked by men's tongues, because I have not been educated like other people, who combine the highest law and sacred scripture togther equally, and they have never changed their speech since infancy, except to always improve more and more towards perfection.
But my speech and words have been translated into a foreign language, as anyone can easily determine from a taste of my writings. You can see how educated and instructed I am from my speech; because Wisdom says, sense and knowledge and true doctrine will be discovered through the tongue (Sirach 4:24). But why should I make excuses?