Bearded Gospel History: Saint Patrick

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by Aaron Alford

 

There is very little one can say about Saint Patrick that has not already been said, but it simply wouldn’t be right to let this special day go by without mentioning something about this unique and compelling figure of Christianity. For a brief and interesting biography of Patrick, I recommend this article by writer Jonathan Rogers: http://www.rabbitroom.com/2013/03/on-the-greatness-of-saint-patrick/

What I can talk about is what Patrick represents to me personally, and why I find him so fascinating. Patrick’s was a life lived in absolute love and service to Christ and to the people around him. 

He was sent to be a missionary in a culture that was defined by its paganism. He was not afraid of the world in which he found himself, however, and instead looked for signs of life, of the movement of the Holy Spirit, within it. He celebrated what was good and true, and with great love and care (and sound doctrine), introduced people to the source of that goodness and truth: Jesus Christ. 

He had a profound awareness of the spiritual realities around him, of God’s immense and unseen workings in the world. He had a sense of Christ’s breath in the breeze, of God’s immediacy in his created world, and of Christ’s presence in the people he was called to serve. He looked with overwhelming love upon the people whom God had made, a people that most of the world (including Christians) had written off as beyond hope or redemption. This was what motivated him to return as a missionary to the very people who had enslaved him. He knew that he need not fear any person, spiritual force, or even the culture of paganism in which he found himself, because Christ’s love was all around him. With Christ’s own love, he loved people.

When I am tempted to despair of Christ’s presence in my life, of his Holy Spirit being at work in the world around me, I need only to remember the incredible prayer of St. Patrick. Here I am reminded of his ever-present help, and his ever-present love. May we carry that same love and confidence into the world in which we find ourselves.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the 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 shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude. 

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

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 when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

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3 thoughts on “Bearded Gospel History: Saint Patrick

  1. Which translation of St. Patrick’s Breastplate did you use? I used one that was translated by a Priest of a society that I belong to. You can see that yours is similar yet some interesting differences.

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