I didn’t know much about St. Patrick until college. My studies started to focus on medieval French literature influenced by Celtic legend and suddenly St. Patrick was everywhere. My first real introduction to him was The Tales of the Elders of Ireland, a 12th century text about ancient Irish heroes framed by St. Patrick’s return to Ireland to evangelize and being told the old legends as he traveled around the Emerald Isle. In this tale, St. Patrick’s guardian angel tells him to have his scribe record all these ancient pagan tales so that they will not be lost. This story demonstrates St. Patrick’s interest in the Celtic culture already present. What I particularly like about St. Patrick is his ability to reveal truths about Christianity to a people by adding new meaning to their own practices. Druid festivals already being celebrated, such as the spring fires lit at Easter, St Patrick imbued with new meaning—a celebration of Christ as the light of the world.
So I like St. Patrick a lot and I was excited to be celebrating St. Patrick’s feast day with good friends.
As for the feast, I made Irish Soda Bread:
And Nigella’s Guinness Chocolate Cake:
Daniel made Corned Beef and Cabbage and John made Cheese soup.
Irish beverages were consumed.
Fellowship was enjoyed.
Daniel read St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a beautiful prayer attributed to the patron saint of Ireland:
I arise today in power and might.
I call upon the Trinity with faith in the threeness
And trust in the oneness of the great world’s maker.
I arise today in the power and might
Of Christ’s birth and baptism, his crucifixion and burial,
His resurrection and ascension, his coming anew to judge mankind.
I arise today in love of cherubim,
in duty of angels, in fealty of archangels,
in hope of uprising, to gain Christ’s reward
I set my trust
In prayers of patriarchs, in foretelling of prophets,
In preaching of apostles in witness of martyrs,
In faith of confessors, in purity of virgins, in good works of the just.
I arise today with the powers of heaven,
The sun in brightness, the moon in splendour,
The flashing of fire, the swift stroke of lightning,
The rushing of storm-wind, the deepness of ocean,
the firmness of earth, the hardness of bed-rock.
Christ save me today
From bane and from burning,
From drowning, from wounding
That grace abounding may be my portion.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ in my headway, Christ in my wake,
Christ alow and Christ aloft,
Christ at my right hand, Christ on my left,
Christ with me waking, waking and sleeping.
Christ in every heart thinks of me,
Christ in every tongue speaks to me,
Christ in every eye beholding,
Christ in every listening ear.