Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saint Patrick, bishop and confessor.
This day is not all about leprechauns, shamrocks and green beer. This is a day to honor and pray to St. Patrick. He was an influential saint who, 1,500 years ago, brought Christianity to the little country of Ireland.
Not many facts are known about the life of St. Patrick. We know that he was born around 415 AD, and was a Roman Briton. When he was about 16, while he was tending his sheep some Irish raiders captured him and made him a slave. He eventually was able to escape and return to Britain. There he heard the call to return and bring Christianity to Ireland. He was ordained a priest, consecrated a bishop and came back to Ireland around 435 AD. Many legends are associated around St. Patrick: how he drove the snakes out of Ireland, and the use of the shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity. Whether or not the legends are true, St. Patrick succeeded in bringing Catholicism to Ireland, and in time, the whole country converted from their pagan gods to the one true God.
One of the most widely circulated writings of Saint Patrick is his lorica, or prayer. It is commonly referred to as Saint Patrick's Breastplate. It is a prayer of protection whose Old Irish lyrics are traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century.In these uncertain times, we are highly encouraged to intensify our prayer for one another and for our world.
The Lorica of Saint Patrick
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 see 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 host to secure me – against snares of devils, against temptations and vices, against inclinations of nature, against everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd... Christ, be 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. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Christ. May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
O God, who chose the Bishop Saint Patrick to preach your glory to the peoples of Ireland, grant, through his merits and intercession, that those who glory in the name of Christian may never cease to proclaim your wondrous deeds to all.