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St Patrick

4 5 VIsIons the voice of god Patrick says he had seven supernatural experiences, mostly in dreams, and in highly stressed circumstances. The first came when he was a slave, and heard God say a ship would take him home. While trying to get there he wandered starving for three weeks, then feasted on pork and experienced sleep paralysis, a sensation of being confined by a heavy weight and unable to move. Patrick believed this was a satanic attack. The third experience came after he had been, some years later, put in prison. A voice came to him telling him that his captivity would end in two months. In the fourth, while he was living in Britain after escaping from slavery, he heard the Irish calling out for his return. In the fifth Patrick heard holy words I could not yet understand and a voice saying He who gave his own soul for you is He who speaks in you, while in the sixth he felt that he saw the Holy Spirit inside me praying, as if I were inside my own body, and I heard above me, that is above the interior man, how He prayed most strongly in groans. Such an intense personal relationship with God did not tie in at all comfortably with the concepts of the Roman state church, which saw itself as the only vehicle of spirituality. Patricks last vision came after he was criticised, and gives a particularly Gnostic view of closeness to God, who spoke to him saying we have seen with disapproval Patricks accuser. He commented that God had used we to show how he has joined himself to me, just as if he had said that he who touches you touches the pupil of my eye.
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