Monday, July 16, 2012

Colossal Christ and Saint Patrick

Interior of St Patrick Cathedral Dublin (1199 AD)
National Shrine of Ireland
photo Historical Cathedrals
According to critical analysis Saint Patrick (386-460), the Apostle of Ireland, wrote himself the Confessio and Epistola (Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus). These two are the only authentic documents surviving from his own writings. Early on in his Confessio Saint Patrick confesses his Christian faith in a way that includes strong rejection of Arianism without mentioning him. The controversy about Arius' teachings was raging in the Church beyond the borders of Rome and at the time of Saint Patrick the Gothic Kingdoms were still Arian.

In a 2011 post Jesus le Petite Prince I wrote about the fundamental change in our perspective when we look at the Universe through our modern instruments. Once we figure out the place of planet Earth in the enormous Cosmic context modern space sciences have revealed, the ruler of our planet is a diminutive character, indeed!

Deacon Arius was a rationalist more than a theologian and he reasoned that if Son was born of Father there must have been time when the Son did not yet exist. Arius also emphasized the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:28 "Father is greater then me".

There is no surviving Arian confession of faith summarizing his views that I know about but something of it has survived in the confession of Wulfila, the Apostle of the Goths, which displays how dominant was the Arian intellectual play on the relation between Father and Son.

It is therefore very educational and interesting to hear how Saint Patrick emphasizes the divinity of Jesus Christ when confessing his Trinitarian faith:
This is because there is no other God, nor will there ever be, nor was there ever, except God the Father. He is the one who was not begotten, the one without a beginning, the one from whom all beginnings come, the one who holds all things in being – this is our teaching.

And his son, Jesus Christ, whom we testify has always been, since before the beginning of this age, with the father in a spiritual way. He was begotten in an indescribable way before every beginning. Everything we can see, and everything beyond our sight, was made through him.

He became a human being; and, having overcome death, was welcomed to the heavens to the Father. The Father gave him all power over every being, both heavenly and earthly and beneath the earth. Let every tongue confess that Jesus Christ, in whom we believe and whom we await to come back to us in the near future, is Lord and God.

He is judge of the living and of the dead; he rewards every person according to their deeds. He has generously poured on us the Holy Spirit the gift and promise of immortality, who makes believers and those who listen to be children of God and co-heirs with Christ.

This is the one we acknowledge and adore – one God in a trinity of the sacred name.
The Confessio of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick is extraordinarily biblical writer and his Confessio contains interwoven in his text over 500 references to the Scriptures. The quoted passage refers, among other verses, Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
St Paul's Epistle to the Colossians 1:15-17 NIV
Everything we can see, and everything beyond our sight, was made through him.

For us today this "everything" means the entire world as modern natural sciences teach us. Saint Patrick gives us in his confession of faith a truly Colossal Christ!

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