Saint Patrick’s Day is the celebration of Patrick Francis Cardinal Moran a missionary to Ireland believed to have died on March 17, 461 AD. In the 5th century Saint Patrick was born to a wealthy family in Ancient Rome the area now known as Wales. He was among some kidnapped as a teenager by a band of Irish pirates that had attacked his family’s castle. They carried him to Ireland where he was forced into slavery under a King Laoghaire/Loegaire for 6 years. He was not from a religious family, but under King Loegaire he spent much time alone as a shepherd. During the solitude, he became a devout Christian. He escaped from slavery, but the Spirit of the Lord told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. After a 15-year space of time where he studied and entered the priesthood and eventually also became a bishop, he returned to preach Christ to them. During times of danger, he wrote and sang among some of the names given the song, The Lorica of Saint Patrick. In the Book of Armagh, the Irish hymn is S. Patricii Canticum Scotticum, written by Saint Patrick a prayer for protection and the help of God as he was preparing to convert the monarch to Christianity. Later dubbed Saint Patrick’s Breastplate it is a prayer against the spirits of darkness that are over the pagan practices native to the island. The very literal translation from Latin can be translated The Deer’s Cry. It was also referred to as a spell of concealment by the Druidic people in 5th century Ireland because of what happened as murderers pursued him to a mountain. When he and his companions were being followed to the mountain top, Patrick prayed the Deer's Cry or The Lorica of Saint Patrick and the would-be murderers found them, but what they saw were deer and not people because God intervened on their behalf.
He had an angel that was assigned to him named Victor. Victor appeared to Patrick out of the air, he fought with Victor once, and Victor also guided him out of slavery and home to England. Victor appeared to him in a dream and told him to go back to Ireland. In the dream Victor handed him letters that were written from the people in Ireland and as he began to read, he could hear their voices. He saw the people crying out to God and God was answering their prayers by bringing him to tell them the good news.
Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Trinity. There was one stem and three leaves. The leaves were the different forms of God – God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit- three in one and one in three. He also is credited with the celtic cross where he combined the sun and the cross together. When he had traveled with some sailors and they came to a place where they had no food he prayed, and a herd of pigs showed up and they were sustained on those pigs until they found other food. Jocelin, a Cistercian monk, the Archbishop, Primate, and Apostle of Ireland wrote in a book in the 12th century titled, The Life and Acts of Saint Patrick that there were thirty-three people some of whom had been dead for many years that were raised from the dead at the prayer of Saint Patrick.
He described himself not at all equal to the apostles; he was a sinner worthy only to be despised. Concerning those who did not believe what they had not seen themselves he wrote,
“And let those who will, laugh and scorn, I shall not be silent; nor shall I hide the signs and wonders which the Lord has shown me.”
One thing that is credited to Saint Patrick is the strange fact that there are no snakes in Ireland. It is said that the snakes were driven into the sea and drowned when Saint Patrick went to the top of a mountain and began to beat a drum. These are only a few of many stories. One thing is certain and that is that Saint Patrick was a great man of God and beloved of many.
There are stories that seem too fantastic to be truth, but whether they are fact or fiction, actual or allegory what can be determined is that God used him in fantastic ways. They tried to murder him, he was enslaved, imprisoned, and persecuted. It was not until after his death he was canonized as a saint. Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is a creation of Cecil Frances Alexander in 1889. She took the literal translation from Latin of The Lorica of Saint Patrick and made a hymn per the request of the Dean of the Chapel Royal at Dublin Castle, H.H. Dickinson. The hymn was included among some 40 Latin and Irish songs of Irish origin that make up the Liber Hymnorum or The Book of Hymns of the 11th century. The following is Saint Patrick’s Breastplate given us by Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
By Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889
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 today to me forever By power of faith, Christ's incarnation; His baptism in Jordan river, His death on Cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spiced tomb, His riding up the 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 judgment 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 star lit 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; Or 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, the 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. By Whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
The Breastplate of Saint Patrick. Serra International. Retrieved on March 15, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.serrainternational.org/news/breastplate-st-patrick.
Who Was Saint Patrick? History.com Editors. HISTORY. A&E Television Networks. October 14, 2009. Updated March 10, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/topics/st-patricks-day/who-was-saint-patrick. Retrieved on March 15, 2021.
Saint Patrick’s Breastplate. Pastor Ralph Wilson. 2021. Retrieved from http://www.joyfulheart.com/stpatrick/breastplate.htm. Retrieved on March 15, 2021.
A Reflection on Saint Patrick’s Prayer. Caroline Quigley. World Vision. Retrieved from https://www.worldvision.org/christian-faith-news-stories/reflection-st-patrick-day-prayer. Retrieved on March 15, 2021.
Saint Patrick’s Life and Miracles. Whitney Hopler. April 30, 2019. Learn Religions. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/saint-patricks-life-and-miracles-124541#:~:text=After%20Patrick%20had%20enjoyed%20several,message%20of%20Jesus%20Christ%20there. Retrieved on March 15, 2021.
Forgotten Miracles of Saint Patrick. Ignasher, Jim. March 10, 2020. Smith Appleby House Museum & The Historical Society of Smithfield. Retrieved from https://smithapplebyhouse.org/forgotten-miracles-of-saint-patrick/#:~:text=Of%20course%20the%20best%20known,water%20by%20beating%20a%20drum. Retrieved on 03/15/2021.
I wanted to add the different celebrations as I believe there is significant benefit for some of them in particular. Some of the most important that I believe we should be aware are not even traditionally Christian, but rather they are Jewish. Just to give an overview of what all we are talking about I am putting together a calendar that you can view here and as well if you would like to go to www.cotsconroe.org you can order a calendar that pays special attention to both the Christian and Jewish celebrations. You will learn either what that means by subscribing to receive updates at Church of the Savior of Montgomery County, Inc online at www.cotsconroe.org or as I said I will have a calendar available that you can order momentarily. When anything is updated if you are subscribed you will receive a notification.