Patrick of Ireland

Today is the day that the world claims its Irish heritage. And why not? The Irish are a wonderfully affable, fun loving, charming people. There’s a lot to like about Ireland. As with any day of significance however, St Patrick’s day has taken on a bit of a change since its inception. Let’s take a pause for a moment to consider the man who name this day bears and what this might mean for our own lives.

Patrick grew up in England, the son of a priest but who did not really care for the ways of Christ. He was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. It was there that he found his faith in Christ. He struggled as a slave, but learned in the moment obedient to the Christ who had truly set him free. After some time be it through escape or being set free it is unclear, he made his way back to England. While there he studied the Bible and entered the ministry. During this time though a peculiar thing happened. He could not get out of his head and heart the people of Ireland who had taken him as a slave. What would become of them without the gospel of Jesus Christ? Most in England thought those in Ireland too pagan to deserve the gospel, but Patrick saw them through the eyes of God, as image bearers of him. In Christ he packed up, moved back to Ireland and brought the gospel. And Ireland became Christian.

Story done, right? Well, yes and no. You see, Patrick not only saw the gospel brought to an entire people, but he started one of the greatest missionary movements the world had ever seen. From Ireland, many travelled to far off places to give the good news of Jesus Christ away. This is what the gospel does when it comes in its most pure form, that men and women who have been forgiven much, who have suffered much affliction, extend the grace of God to their tormenters, many lives are changed. These lives are changed and they are in turn propelled to go out into the world and to do the same.

Below is a poem/prayer of Patrick of Ireland. Read it today and celebrate those who take the good news of Jesus Christ to those who need it most, humanity wherever it may be found.

Thank you Patrick for your sacrifice and example of what it means to display the gospel to all men.
The Lorica, Or, St Patrick’s Breastplate
I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,

The Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever,

By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;

His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb;

His riding up he heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom:

I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet “Well done” in judgement hour;

The service of the seraphim;
Confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,

The patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
All good deeds done unto the Lord,

And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,

Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today

The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, his might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need;
The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, his shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.

[Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile men that mar my course;
Of few or many, far or nigh,

In every place, and in all hours
Against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,

Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles

Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,

Against the death-wound and the burning
The choking wave and poisoned shaft,

Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.]

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,

The Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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