He Identified with His Adopted People Completely

After first-generation Irish Christians are kidnapped and made slaves by a British warlord:

“In sadness and grief, shall I cry aloud. O most lovely and loving brethren and sons whom I have begotten in Christ (I cannot number them), what shall I do for you? I am not worthy to come to the aid of either God or men. The wickedness of the wicked has prevailed against us. We are become as it were strangers. Can it be that they do not believe that we have received one baptism or that we have one God and Father? Is it a shameful thing in their eyes that we have been born in Ireland?”

The British Christians did not recognize the Irish Christians either as full-fledged Christians or as human beings – because they were not Roman. Patrick, whose awkward foreignness on his return to Britain had been the cause of numerous rebuffs, knows in his bones the snobbery of the educated Roman, who by the mid-fifth century had every right to assume that Roman and Christian were interchangeable identities. Patrick, operating at the margins of European geography and of human consciousness, has traveled even further from his birthright than we might expect. He is no longer British or Roman, at all. When he cries out in his pain, “Is it a shameful thing … that we have been born in Ireland?” we know that he has left the old civilization behind forever and has identified himself completely with the Irish.

Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization, pp. 112-113

Photo by Yan Ming on Unsplash

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