For Part II, click here.
Trembling, Patrick said aloud to his company of attendants, “I should never have come.”
A priest named Tassac stepped forward from the group and questioned Patrick.
“Why, Abba, would you say such a thing? You drove out the serpent from the midst of this people!”
“Not fully. The serpent waits for me at the edge of those cliffs near the sea. He and his master taunt me, because they know what I have done. They know my hands are not clean.”
“You are blameless, Abba! Ever since you began the work of God on this island thousands of miracles have occurred and people are flocking to the churches.”
Turning away from the group, Patrick looked down at the valley below, seeing again the circle of stone where he was struck with a frightening vision of his past.
“I am Patrick, a sinner, the rudest and least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to many. Thirty years ago in my youth I committed a grievous sin, something most terrible when I was yet a pagan. It haunts me now and I do not believe I can confront the serpent with such a stain on my soul.”
Tassac walked forward and placed a hand on Patrick’s shoulder.
“Abba, you are like a father to us all. You have taught us that the Evil One prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Yet, you have also taught us to put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day.”
Looking at Patrick, Tassac continued, “And above all, you have told us how if God is for us, who could possibly be against us? The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the darkness of the past and put on the armor of light!”
Greatly humbled at what was said, Patrick knelt before Tassac and said aloud with a strong voice, “I confess to the triune God and to you, my brothers, that I have greatly sinned, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech you, forgive me, your father in faith.”
Tassac made the sign of the cross over Patrick and raised him up from his feet.
“You will not approach the serpent alone this time! We are all going with you and you can’t stop us!”
Smiling, Patrick took hold of his staff and beckoned to his group of disciples.
“Let us drive this beast from the land! As you said, Tassac, if God is for us, who could be against us?”
Leading the men forward, Patrick started to walk down the hill again as the sun was beginning to set.
Stay tuned. Part IV will be released on February 13.