Today is one of the most famous feast days, the feast day of St. Patrick, although most people will probably celebrate this day by drinking green beer and eating Irish food that they would normally go out of their way to avoid. But before we go out to celebrate by eating shepherd's pie and drinking, let's think about the life of St. Patrick and what we might learn.
St. Patrick was born to a high ranking Roman family in England, but when he was approximately 16, he was kidnapped and spent 6 or 7 years as a slave in Ireland. While there, he learned the language and the non-Christian customs of the land.
This knowledge would come in handy when he was sent back to Ireland in the 5th century to solidify the Christianity of the country. There are many stories about Patrick's vanquishing force, complete with Druid spells and Christian counterspells. I suspect the real story was perhaps more tame.
Later scholars have suggested that Patrick and his compatriots were sent to minister to the Christians who were already there, not to conquer the natives. Other scholars have speculated that one of the reasons that Christianity was so successful in Ireland was because Patrick took the parts of pagan religions that appealed most to its followers and showed how those elements were also present in Christianity--or perhaps incorporated them into Christianity as practiced in Ireland.
All scholars seem to agree: Patrick was essential in establishing Christianity in Ireland. And he wouldn't have been so effective, had he not spent time there as a slave, which meant he learned the language and the customs of the country.
So, when we despair over our bad fortune, perhaps we can remember St. Patrick, born into a noble family, sold into slavery--an experience which would later make him successful in God's mission in ways he never could have anticipated.
Here's a prayer for your feast day, a prayer said to be written by St. Patrick himself, a prayer commonly known as St. Patrick's Breast-Plate:
"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."
feeling the feelings…
8 months ago