Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Melody wore her shamrock shirt to the Providence co-op on Monday, and realized this morning that it was still in her hamper.  Instead of waiting for me to wash it, she just pulled it out and put it on.  Such is the unpretentious life of a four year old.  I think she is so incredibly adorable.  Look at those big brown eyes and goofy smile! 

Oh, I'm just a little bit Irish.  My great-great-grandmother Sallie Hogan was from the Emerald Isle, I've been told.  But I wasn't raised with Irish-consciousness.

Anyway, Irish or not, I love the story of St. Patrick, who, kidnapped by pagans from Ireland in the 5th century, miraculously escaped, and later returned voluntarily to evangelize there.  He encountered massive opposition that can best be described as spiritual warfare.  Yet he persevered for decades.  I have often read a biography of him to my kids, but it seems to have disappeared from my shelf within the past few days.  Hmmm.  I wonder which one of them is reading it without me this year...  At any rate, I also like to include "St. Patrick's Breastplate" and "Will the Real St. Patrick Please Stand Up?" in my co-op students' homework packet this time of year.  I actually didn't this time around, because we've been studying world religions, and in conjunction with our week on Buddhism and Hinduism, I gave them a story about Pandita Ramabai instead.  In the 1800's, she championed education and protection for girls in India, as well as ministering in practical ways to widows and orphans.   Same bold spirit, different century and continent.

Sally Clarkson, I Christian blogger whom I admire, wrote this post today: Bold and Wise, The Legacy of St. Patrick.   She included "St. Patrick's Breastplate" in her post, too, so I thought I would share it with you.  I remember hearing part of it sung to the same tune as Cat Steven's musical version of Eleanor Farjeon's poem "Morning Has Broken."  I'm still looking for that on-line, but you can hear a different version here.

"St. Patrick’s Breastplate"

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the 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 obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
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 way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel 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 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.


We can live this way, too!  Arise today!   If you have sincerely asked Jesus to be your Savior and Lord, then Christ is with you, all around you, and even in you!  Be bold in his name!


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