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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day Thoughts

As we recognize the anniversary of Saint Patrick's death, I think it's important to learn a bit from this great man of God.

1. Patrick showed the love of Christ towards his enemies

Many people don't realize that Patrick was not Irish, but an English Christian.' His autobiography Confessio explains that he was taken captive by a band of Irish marauders, and held as a slave in Ireland.1 During that time, as he tended flocks, his faith in God grew stronger.' After six years, he escaped as made his way back to his parents' home.' However, God called him back to evangelize the Irish via a dream:
And after a few years I was again in Britain with my parents [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go anywhere else away from them. And, of course, there, in a vision of the night, I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: 'The Voice of the Irish'; and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: 'We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.' And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry."2

2. Patrick was steadfast in the face of opposition

The Druids saw Patrick as not only a foreigner who upset their ways but a crazy person with a peculiar look and a more peculiar message.  He was most likely beaten and put in chains. A seventh century poem criticizes him by saying:3
Across the sea will come Adze-head, crazed in the head, his cloak with hole for the head, his stick bent in the head. He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house; all his people will answer: "so be it, so be it."

3. Patrick's Heart for God and Service

Below is a traditional Irish prayer attributed to St. Patrick.  Whether Patrick genuinely wrote this or not, it does show his heart toward his God and the service to which he was called.4


I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

References

1. "Kidnapped by Pirates at Age 16" The Confessions of St. Patrick. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/patrick/confession.ii.html (accessed March 17, 2010).
2. Ibid. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/patrick/confession.vi.html
3. Lydon, James F. The making of Ireland: from ancient times to the present.
(New York:Routledge,1998) p.6
See the book page here.
4. "St. Patrick" New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11554a.htm (accessed March 17, 2010).
Image courtesy Andreas F. Borchert and licensed via the CC BY-SA 3.0 de license.

1 comment:

  1. great thanks. i learned something new today.

    ReplyDelete

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