Subscribe to the thinkgospel.com daily devotionals. During the month of March we are looking at the life of Patrick of Ireland.
The Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine of Dulia pays homage to a certain chosen few whom the church has deemed worthy of the title “Saint” with a capital “S.” These Saints are given a special day of celebration. Part of this veneration includes the Invocation of the Saints—praying to the saints. A special honour is given to Mary, of course, in the doctrine of hyperdulia.
This doctrine shows contempt to the common believer (as though God shows favoritism). More importantly, it was rightly regarded by the Reformers as “idolatry” and the holidays to saints as “corruptions” and “inventions.” Luther, in his Treatise on Good Workssaid, “Would to God that in Christendom there were no holidays except the Sunday.” John Calvin, in his Brief Form of a Confession of Faith stated, “I abominate the superstition which some have devised of applying to saints, male and female, as a kind of advocates for us with God.” This has been and remains the position of the Reformed Church.
Judging by the self-effacing manner with which Patrick writes his Confession, I have no doubt he would be horrified at this deification of man that Rome practices, not to mention the reveling that goes on in his name. It is clear Patrick certainly would refuse any overtures to beatify him—were he given the choice.
We are right to remember Patrick, but let us remember him with the same humility and purpose with which he regarded himself, desiring instead to exalt his Saviour. Insofar as he leads us to Christ in the ministry of his writings let us thank the Lord for Patrick and his testimony.