Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Review: Saint Patrick (Christian Encounters Series)

If you are looking for a short, uncomplicated, to-the-point bio of Saint Patrick, this book fits the bill. At 140-odd pages and a small trim-size, the book can be read in a couple hours and will leave the reader with a solid outline of what we know about Patrick's life. The author does seem to read a little too much into Patrick's true motivations and draws some inferences that seem unsupportable. But these instances are infrequent, unobtrusive, and not overly wild.

I must admit that my favorite part of this book was the two appendices, comprising 40 pages of Saint Patrick's own writings in English translation. The selections are Patrick's confession and his letter to Coroticus, the warlord whose men murdered and enslaved some of Patrick's newly baptized converts. In my opinion, this book is worth purchasing just for these two bits alone.

Here are two quotes from Patrick's writings that I particularly liked:

"I know in part why I did not lead a perfect life like other believers, but I confess to my Lord and do not blush in his sight, because I am not lying; from the time when I came to know him in my youth, the love of God and fear of him increased in me, and right up until now, by God's favour, I have kept the faith."

"I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing."