St Patrick


Wednesday Reflection


17th March 2021

...shrouded in myths...

20  "You intended to harm me,
    but God intended it all for good.
    He brought me to this position
    so I could save the lives
    of many people."

....Genesis 50:20

Patrick is not just Ireland's
national Saint.
He has been embraced throughout
the world even though his legacy
is shrouded in myths and legends
which have encompassed him
over the centuries.

The details of his life are sketchy,
yet, he has always been honoured
with a central place in Irish
spirituality and history.

The story of Patrick reminds me,
in a way, of Joseph's experience in Egypt.
In both cases, what kidnappers
and slave masters intended for evil,
God intended for good.

His story reads like an Indiana Jones-type
adventure and he is known and admired
all over the world as the young slave
who became an unlikely hero,
the shy boy transformed into
a courageous missionary.

Raised in Britain (yes, not Ireland),
Patrick was captured by pirates in A.D.405
when he was only sixteen years old.
The kidnappers whisked him away to
Ireland and sold Patrick into slavery.
He spent eight years as a captive
in this pagan land that soon
became his adopted home, and a
foreign people became his friends.

He was no brilliant scholar
but a man of deep faith
tried and tested in the fires
of slavery and exile.
At first a reluctant preacher until
filled with the strength of the Trinity
he overcame his fears and limitations
to establish one of the strongest
Churches in the Christian world.

Patrick, like Joseph was visited by
his share of dreams.
He was shown a ship that would
release him from his slavery.
Trusting the dream narrative,
Patrick pursued it, found a ship,
escaped and returned to his home
and was reunited with his family
after six years as a shepherd.

Again, the dream interrupted
and disturbed his new found freedom
and he heard the voice of the
Irish people calling him,
'come back and walk among us once more',
Patrick once again prepared to
journey back to Ireland,
a trained and educated priest
and Bishop to evangelise
the people of Ireland.

One of Patrick's legacies is his
famous prayer known widely as
"Morning Prayer,"
"St. Patrick's Breastplate,"
"The Lorica."
Showing a total dependence on God.

It's not known whether St. Patrick
is actually the author or
whether someone else wrote it
years later and it was
attributed to St. Patrick.
But it is widely associated
with him and his ministry.

I arise today through the
strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
splendour of fire,
speed of lightning,
swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
stability of the earth,
firmness of the rock.

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
everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of
everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

From the beginning, St. Patrick
tells us that he arises
"through the strength of heaven."

"God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me
God's word to speak for me
God's shield to protect me
afar and anear,
alone or in a multitude."

He is said to have died on March 17th, 493
and is buried in the same grave as
St. Brigid and St. Columba
in Downpatrick in County Down.

So, what can apply St Patrick's
teaching and example to
our daily lives today?

We need to ...
entrust ourselves, our Church,
our country to God's protective care...
have full confidence
in the Lord's healing presence
and power...
give thanks for God's special care
and call to each of us,
knowing that God took the
initiative in our lives
and will sustain us day by day...
be devoted to reading the Gospels
so that we take on the mind
and heart of Jesus...
be receptive to God's will
in all our trials,
to trust him unreservedly...
be alert to all the opportunities
we are given each day
to proclaim the Gospel,
and to know that whatever
good we do is through
God's boundless grace...
believe in the importance of
intercession for our people
and all people at this time.

Though St. Patrick's ministry
was thousands of years ago,
we still have much to learn
from this humble, godly man.

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'Be thou my vision.'
sung by Robin Mark
via the link shown below.