According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saint Patrick's Breastplate Prayer & Other Quotes


St. Patrick's Statue, Mayo County, Ireland

"Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall."


"Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me."


"I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many."


"If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me."


"If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me."


"No one should ever say that it was my ignorance if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God's good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that - as is the perfect truth - it was the gift of God."


"That which I have set out in Latin is not my words but the words of God and of apostles and prophets, who of course have never lied. He who believes shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be damned. God has spoken."


"The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins."



 


Saint Patrick's "Breastplate" Prayer
Prayer Upon Arising. Psalm 5 may added.

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 for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd 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 the 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 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;
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 and 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,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

* Note: "day of doom" is an Old English term meaning "Day of Judgment."





Saint Patrick


Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. St Patrick's Day is March 17.

St Patrick is traditionally associated with the Shamrock plant, which he used to explain the concept of the Trinity.

St Patrick's value doesn't really come from the historical details but from the inspiration of a man who returned to the country where he had been a child slave, in order to bring the message of Christ.

Facts in brief

  • St Patrick really existed
  • Taken to Ireland as a slave at age 16
  • Escaped after 6 years
  • Became a Christian priest, and later a Bishop
  • Returned to Ireland as a missionary
  • Played a major part in converting the Irish to Christianity
  • Some of his writings survive, the Confessio and the Letter to Coroticus

 

Doubtful extra facts in brief

  • Born in 387 AD in Scotland, in Kilpatrick
    • alternative sources suggest he was born at Banwen in Wales
  • His original name was Maewyn Succat; he became Patrick when he became a bishop
  • Studied in France at the monastery of St Martin's in Tours
  • Went to Ireland in 432 AD
  • Died either in 461 AD, or 493 AD (unlikely)
  • Taught by Saint Germaine

Patrick's life

Patrick's early life

Patrick's family lived on a small estate near the village of Bannavem Taburniae. (This name cannot be placed on any current map of England or Wales.) Although his father was a deacon, Patrick was not a believer:
I did not, indeed, know the true God. - Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin
Enslaved by pirates
St Patrick with a shepherd's crook, prayingIn his teens, Patrick was captured by a gang of Irish pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland. Patrick came to believe that this was a punishment for his lack of faith. He was put to work for six years herding sheep and pigs on Slemish mountain in County Antrim. While he was a shepherd, Patrick spent much of his time praying:
I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time. - Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin

Escapes after six years


Patrick returns to Ireland in a sailing boatIn an escape bid (while he was a captive in Ireland), Patrick stowed away on a boat bound for Britain, and it landed not far from where his parents lived. Patrick decided to follow his vocation to become a priest, and after a dream he was inspired to return to Ireland:
I seemed to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: 'We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us. - Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin
Patrick spent several years studying before he felt ready to take up the life of a missionary.

Patrick's return to Ireland as a missionary

Patrick eventually returned to Ireland, as the country's second bishop, and brought the message of Christ to many people who had never heard it. As a missionary Patrick baptised many thousands of people. It was not an easy task. Patrick tells how his life was at risk, and how he was sometimes imprisoned by the local pagan chiefs. We know that Patrick sometimes made things easier by giving gifts to the chiefs. Poignantly, Patrick also writes of his longing to leave Ireland:
How I would have loved to go to my country and my parents, and also to Gaul in order to visit the brethren and to see the face of the saints of my Lord! God knows it! that I much desired it; but I am bound by the Spirit. - Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin
Patrick preaching to a large crowdBut he knew his duty, and remained in Ireland. Patrick had problems not only with himself, and the local pagans, but suffered from some backbiting by fellow clergy who accused him of seeking to win personal status. The claim nearly broke his heart, but anyone who reads his Confessio will soon realise that Patrick was the last person to think that he deserved any glory for himself:
I ought unceasingly to give thanks to God who often pardoned my folly and my carelessness, and on more than one occasion spared His great wrath on me, who was chosen to be His helper and who was slow to do as was shown me and as the Spirit suggested.  - Saint Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin
Patrick's writings

Patrick's world

Patrick clearly perceived Ireland and Britain to be far apart, but he also perceived Britain and Gaul to be very close. Seeing the world like that is as much a matter of theology as geography. Jerusalem was believed to be the centre of the world and around Jerusalem were countries which were occupied by the Romans. On one particular far-flung corner was the island of Ireland - the last bastion of paganism (as Patrick saw it).
Patrick's education
Saint Patrick writingPatrick not only knew the language of his British parents but studied and understood Latin. Just how much Latin would have been used in Ireland (so far away from Rome) by that time is uncertain, but in his own writing there is evidence that he was well read in both secular writing and the Scriptures. And in addition to the language of his British parents, and the Latin he learned as a priest, Patrick would have had to speak Irish to communicate God's message to the people.
Patrick's mission
Patrick believed that when "every nation" had heard the gospel, Christ would then return, and it seems he believed that he was the person to bring this message of Christianity to the land that represented this "final hurdle" of God's plan.
Patrick's writings
In Ireland, probably towards the end of his life, Bishop Patrick wrote about his life and work in the Confessio. He begins:

I am the sinner Patrick. I am the most unsophisticated of people, the least of Christians, and for many people I am the most contemptible... I was taken into captivity in Ireland - at that time I was ignorant of the true God - along with many thousand others. This was our punishment for departing from God, abandoning his commandments, and ignoring our priests who kept on warning us about our salvation. - St Patrick, Confessio, translated from Latin

Myths about Patrick

Was Saint Patrick Irish?


Patrick kneeling on the ground prayingNo he wasn't; he was British. When he was a child, raiders from Ireland came and took him from Britain. In Ireland, he was sold as a slave, and spent about six years tending sheep and pigs around Slemish (a mountain formed from the plug of an extinct volcano just outside Ballymena in what is now Co Antrim). As a stowaway, he returned to his parents, but felt called by God to return to preach to the people of Ireland.

Did St Patrick bring Christianity to Ireland?

SnakeProbably not. There's good evidence that there were believers in Ireland before Patrick arrived. Pope Celestine had sent Palladius to that part of the world years before. Anyway, it would be unlikely that a country with such strong trading links with the Roman Empire would have remained untouched by Christianity.

Did St Patrick drive the snakes out of Ireland?

No he didn't, because it's unlikely there ever were any snakes in Ireland. The snake may be a reference to serpent, a symbol of evil, and the driving out a reference to Patrick's mission to rid Ireland of pagan influence.



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