On the occasion of St. Patrick's Day, here is a little known fact about me- I'm at least 25% Irish! No one believes me because I look so much like my Sicilian father, but my mother's maiden name is O'Keefe and she's definitely Irish-looking (I was sure one of our children would have her red hair)! How's that for a combo- half Sicilian and the other half is German-Irish!
In all seriousness, I really appreciate the legacy of Patrick for whom St. Patrick's Day is named. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland who died on March 17, 493, hence the annual celebration honoring him.
Patrick was born in Britain. When he was a teenager he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. Interestingly, the Lord gave him a burden for the Irish people who held him captive. Upon his return to England he entered the priesthood. Soon enough, he journeyed to Ireland as a missionary, working in the north and west of the island. While detailed accounts of Patrick's ministry during that time (a dark time for the church as a whole) are sketchy and laden with legend, many scholars credit Patrick and some of his fellow missionaries with beginning the monastic movement (monasteries) in Ireland. It has been further argued the monasteries in Ireland were a chief citadel of study during a time of widespread ignorance and illiteracy. One author in recent years, Thomas Cahill, even argues the Irish saved civilization and Patrick was the initiator.
We have some of Patrick's prayers, one that has recently been discovered anew is his "lorica". Take a moment and read this wonderful prayer on the day so-named for St. Patrick.
Lorica of Saint Patrick -
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 mulitude. 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 of the Creator of creation.