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St. Patrick

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hosea 6:1, 3
Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

Charles Madigan, once-editor of the Chicago Tribune, said about St. Patrick, "He's one of the few saints whose feast day presents the opportunity to get determinedly whacked and make a fool of oneself all under the guise of acting Irish."

Patrick didn't mind being made a fool of, either, not by God. He himself wrote, "Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall."

His feast day also marks the legendary day of his death in the fifth century. St. Patrick's Day history (see http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=851&display_order=2&mini_id=1082) might include a lot of beer-drinking and political back-slapping, but Patrick himself was a preacher and a poet. His poetry has lasted fifteen hundred years. It is beautiful:

The Lorica of Patrick
Also known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate", and "The Deer's Cry"


• I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator.

• I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun
Brilliance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

• I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's host to secure me
against snares of devils
against temptations of vices
against inclinations of nature
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd.

• Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

• I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Thrones,
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

You have blessed us, Lord, forever with your presence. Now and tomorrow and always.



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