☘ He knew them, their culture, the kind of people they were, having spent the last six long years of his boyhood with them as a slave. The strength of character he must have had to willfully, indeed joyfully go back after having escaped to home and freedom, had to be great. What drove him? ☘
One point that may need a bit more explanation is Patrick's "apocalyptic vision". In his confessio he repeatedly refers to Ireland as the furthest extreme of the world that he will bring into the arms of the church. This ties in with the popular believe that the Final Judgement would come once all nations accepted Christ - thus implying that the completion of Patrick's mission would bring the End of Days.
Obviously Patrick's geographical knowledge even of the world as it was known in his times was very patchy. He seems to have been totally and genuinely convinced, however, that he was chosen to convert the Irish and thus ring in the end of the world as he knew it.
He organized the Christianity which already existed. He converted kingdoms which were still pagan, especially in the more barren and craggy west. And he brought Ireland into connection with the Church of the Roman Empire, making Ireland formally part of universal Christendom.
Patrick has even been enlisted in the gay rights cause. For a decade, gay and lesbian Irish-Americans have sought permission to march in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade, and for a decade they have lost in court. Cahill, among others, has allied Patrick with gays and lesbians. Cahill's Patrick is a muscular progressive. He was a proto-feminist who valued women in an age when the church ignored them. He always sided with the downtrodden and the excluded, whether they were slaves or the pagan Irish. If Patrick were around today, Cahill says, he would join the gay marchers.
"One theme from his life that is not often highlighted is Patrick's relationship to his fellow believers. Consistent with his understanding of God's character, he submitted throughout his life to the authorities and practices of his day, affirming the institutions along with the essential doctrines of the faith."
It's fascinating because Kimball and Hunter (and some others) drew the opposite conclusion, painting Patrick as a rebel of sorts who was under constant criticism from church leaders in Britain.