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Saint Patrick’s Day March 17

st_patrick-(1)There is a great misconception about Saint Patrick and that misconception is that he was Irish.  Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the year 387.  When he was in his mid teens he was captured by Irish Pirates and sold as a slave in Ireland where, until he was 20, he tended sheep.  Ireland at the time, as was much of the world, a Pagan Nation and The Druids held power there, but Patrick remembered the Christian God he knew and spent much of his time praying to Him.  Patrick wrote about this time in The Confession.

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

At 20 year of age Patrick was sent a dream from God that this was the time of his escape.  He left the flock that he was tending and made his way to the coast, when he arrived there he found some sailors who were willing to take him back to Britain but he would not remain there long.

A few years later Patrick received a second dream from God.  He writes;

“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea-and they cried out, as with one voice: ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.'”

From this dream Patrick studied to become a Priest and was ordained by Saint Germanicus.  Later he would be made a Bishop with the instructions to take the Gospel to Ireland.

The legends of Saint Patrick in Ireland are many and varied but the hard core truth is that the boy who was made a slave went back to those who made him a slave to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ.  One of the tools he used to help the Irish understand the triune God was the three leaf clover.

Patrick served in Ireland for forty years and died on March 17, 461.  He led a life of hardship and poverty during his time in Ireland.   He is believed to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick. His grave was marked in 1990 with a granite stone.

The Breastplate of Saint Patrick is one of the writings of the beloved Saint of Ireland.

I arise today 
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with 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 the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The 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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose 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 witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
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 when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone 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 Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland as well as The United States.  In Ireland the day is much more sedate and attending church is a main part of the day.  In the United States it is celebrated more as a day of fun and enjoyment.

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