Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Saint Patrick

Happy Feast of Saint Patrick!

I usually try to find saints that I know nothing about, and try to expand my knowledge, but today is St. Patrick's Day and, well, I really like St. Patrick.  Two of my children were baptized on his feast day, my oldest and my youngest, so he just holds a special place in my heart.

Saint Patrick was born in Britain, son of a deacon and grandson of a priest.  At that point you know, he is either destined for greatness or destined to rebel against it.  At the age of 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and was sold into slavery.  For 6 years, he tended to flocks, as part of his servitude.  During this time, he had a profound religious transformation and in the summer of 407, he was told in a dream to escape.  He did and traveled around 200 miles to leave on a ship transporting Irish hounds.  The ship landed in France and Patrick entered the local monastic institution and was taught, most notably, by St. Germanus of Auxerre. He had a longing, better said, as a spiritual calling to return to Ireland to help them in their faith.  Patrick had very little education and was embarrassed by his lack of knowledge, but gained the essentials of faith and was familiar with scripture.  Perhaps, this lack of formal education was part of what made him such an amazing missionary.  Patrick was the second missionary bishop appointed to bring Christianity to Ireland.  For 29 years, Patrick traveled among the 5 kingdoms of Ireland and won the conversion of nearly the entire Irish people.  His main accomplishments were:  promoting native clergy and integrating Christianity into the Celtic culture.  As with most successful missionaries, he was simple and heart felt in his teachings, my favorite being the clover to describe the trinity.

What can I say, we all know the stories, casting the snakes out of Ireland, the clover....St. Patrick is just one of those who's life is ingrained in us.  So, instead of me, trying to find a way for his life to be an example for ours, I am just going to share some of his prayer....The Breastplate of St. Patrick:

I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three,

I bind this day to me forever. 
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river; 
His death on the Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgement hour,
The service of the seraphim, confessors of faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarch's prayers, the Prophets' scrolls, 
all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's lift-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at evening,
the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, 
the stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. 
The wisdom of God to teach, His hand to guide, 
His shield to ward, the word of God to give me speech, 
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin, the vice that gives temptation force, 
the natural lusts that war within, the hostile men that mar my course;
or few or man, far or nigh, in every place and in all hours, 
against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles, against false words of heresy, 
against the knowledge that defiles, against the wizard's evil craft, 
against the death would and the burning, the choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, til Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me, 
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name, the strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three, 
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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