The Feast of Saint Patrick—2017

I guess everyone knows about Saint Patrick’s Day, right? It’s the day a lot of cities turn a prominent river green, have parades, and drink copious amounts of green beer. It’s a day celebrated by a lot of the world, a day where “everyone’s Irish!” But what does any of this have to do with the actual person of Patrick or his legacy? That’s what this little post is about.

It’d be great to do one of those “person on the street” interviews we see on various late night talk shows. Have someone go out into the cities celebrating Saint Patrick’s day and ask them some questions about Patrick. I’m sure the answers would be hilarious! And I’m pretty sure most of them would be wrong. For starters—and what comes as a shock to a lot of people—Patrick wasn’t Irish! He was British as far as we can determine. On the day when “everyone’s Irish,” the very person we’re celebrating wasn’t.

While he called himself “Patrick” in both of his surviving writings, Confession and Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus, some scholars don’t believe that was the name given to him by his family. But, if that’s the way he identifies himself, it’s good enough for me!

And he didn’t drive out the snakes of Ireland. As far as can be determined, there have never been snakes in Ireland. This image is probably referring to the rise of Christianity and the decline of Druidism in Ireland.

I highly recommend checking out the Confession and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus. They’re great glimpses into the heart and mind of Patrick. If you’re wanting a deeper look into Patrick and other Irish saints, I recommend the following online sources:

  • Omnium Sanctorum Hiberniae is the sister site of Trias Thaumaturga and contains a plethora of information about other Irish saints.

I’ll leave you with an adapted version of the prayer attributed to Patrick but may have been written (or at least edited) some time later. It goes by several names: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, The Deer Cry, or The Lorica of Saint Patrick.

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 when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
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.

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC


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