St. Patrick's Day

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St Patrick was born about 385 A.D. Where he is originally from is undetermined, but it is thought to be either Scotland or what is now Wales and his real name was Maewyn. His family belonged to the Roman Catholic Church but by his own admission he was covetous, licentious, materialistic, and generally heathen. Somewhere between the ages of fourteen and sixteen he, along with hundreds of other young men and women, were captured by Irish marauders and sold as slaves back in Ireland. While serving as a slave he turned toward God and realized the importance of having God in his life.

 In writing about this period of slavery he wrote: "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."

 After six years, he eventually was able to escape and he went to Gaul to study at a monastery. Here he developed a great desire to convert others to Christianity.  

At the time Ireland was very much into witchcraft [not surprising that this is where Halloween has its origins]. He felt a great desire to return to Ireland and help the people turn away from these practices. Sometime before he left, he took on the name of Patrick.

 He was very successful at converting people to Christianity which angered many Druid priests (these priests had previously held the country tight in their religion of black magic and the occult.) At least a dozen times these priests had Patrick arrested and imprisoned. Each time he was able to escape. Over a period of about 30 - 40 years, he was able to travel to nearly all of Ireland and was the catalyst that turned a very pagan country into a Christian country. Ireland later came to be called "Isle of Saints." His converts were from all social classes -- from Princes to slaves.

 He did use the shamrock as an object lesson to teach about the Godhead. But I like the version that I read. Rather than the idea of the trinity (three people in one being) as most other churches believe. The account I read said that St. Patrick struggled to teach that the God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were separate and distinct yet the Godhead was as the stem that united them in unity of purpose. He may really have taught that they were one being, but I liked this version and I believe it may be true because in those early days of the Catholic church, the idea of the trinity was not yet that strong of an idea.

 The green comes from Ireland being called the Emerald Isle. I like to think of green because of the same reason for green at Christmas. That Christ lives still and is not dead.  

Debra Coe (c) 1997 all rights reserved

Below is something he is supposed to have written that I liked:

 

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.
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In 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 speakfor 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 on who deisres me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
   
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.
   
St. Patrick ca. 377 A.D.
   

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Last modified: May 25, 1998