Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

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

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - 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

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

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) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

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

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

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.

The Life Of Saint Patrick, Early Christian Missionary to Druid Ireland

St Patrick is recognized as the patron saint of Ireland,
credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

[Excerpt] St. Patrick Apostle of Ireland
"A Steward of the Kingdom of God"

Who was Saint Patrick? This new documentary film delves beneath the myth of Ireland's patron saint to reveal that the patron saint of Ireland was an ordinary man who accomplished the extraordinary by placing his faith in God. Precious few historical facts are known of this man who walked through pre-Christian 5th century Ireland. Two documents written by Patrick, the Confession and his Letter to Coroticus, an Irish warlord, are all that remain. Yet these brief writings captured his emotional state, his innermost feelings and aspirations. Exquisitely filmed on location in Ireland, and using dramatic wide-screen black and white re-creations, SAINT PATRICK: APOSTLE OF IRELAND, visually traces the life of a British slave turned missionary to his Druid captors.

Wikipedia: Saint Patrick of Ireland

Film Length: 43:22

Who Was St Patrick?

St. Patrick was a Christian missionary. Two authentic letters from him survive, the only universally accepted details of his life. When he was 16, he was captured in Britain by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland. He escaped, returned home and became a bishop. He later returned to Ireland, but little else is known. By the seventh century, he was credited as the patron saint of Ireland.


Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and probably responsible in part for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is known only from two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.


Patrick was born in Britain of a Romanized family. At age 16 he was taken by Irish raiders from the villa of his father, Calpurnius, a deacon and minor local official, and carried into slavery in Ireland, where, during six bleak years spent as a herdsman, he turned with fervour to the Christian faith. Hearing at last in a dream that the ship in which he was to escape was ready, he fled his master and found passage to Britain. There he came near to starvation and suffered a second brief captivity before he was reunited with his family. Thereafter, he may have paid a short visit to the Continent.

The best known passage in the Confessio, his spiritual autobiography, tells of a dream, after his return to Britain, in which one Victoricus delivered him a letter headed “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, he seemed to hear a certain company of Irish beseeching him to walk once more among them. “Deeply moved,” he says, “I could read no more.” Nevertheless, because of the shortcomings of his education, he was reluctant for a long time to respond to the call. Even on the eve of reembarkation for Ireland he was beset by doubts of his fitness for the task. Once in the field, however, his hesitations vanished. Utterly confident in the Lord, he journeyed far and wide, baptizing and confirming with untiring zeal. In diplomatic fashion he brought gifts to a kinglet here and a lawgiver there but accepted none from any. On at least one occasion, he was cast into chains. On another, he addressed with lyrical pathos a last farewell to his converts who had been slain or kidnapped by the soldiers of Coroticus.

Careful to deal fairly with the non-Christian Irish, he nevertheless lived in constant danger of martyrdom. The evocation of such incidents of what he called his “laborious episcopate” was his reply to a charge, to his great grief endorsed by his ecclesiastical superiors in Britain, that he had originally sought office for the sake of office. In point of fact, he was a most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped “idols and unclean things” had become “the people of God.”

The phenomenal success of Patrick's mission is not, however, the full measure of his personality. Since his writings have come to be better understood, it is increasingly recognized that, despite their occasional incoherence, they mirror a truth and a simplicity of the rarest quality. Not since St. Augustine of Hippo had any religious diarist bared his inmost soul as Patrick did in his writings. As D.A. Binchy, the most austerely critical of Patrician (i.e., of Patrick) scholars, has put it, “The moral and spiritual greatness of the man shines through every stumbling sentence of his rustic' Latin.”

It is not possible to say with any assurance when Patrick was born. There are, however, a number of pointers to his missionary career having lain within the second half of the 5th century. In the Coroticus letter, his mention of the Franks as still “heathen” indicates that the letter must have been written between 451, the date generally accepted as that of the Franks' irruption into Gaul as far as the Somme River, and 496, when they were baptized en masse. Patrick, who speaks of himself as having evangelized heathen Ireland, is not to be confused with Palladius, sent by Pope Celestine in 431 as “first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.”

Tarlach O'Raifeartaigh

Copyright © 1994-2011 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. For more information visit Britannica.com

A Quick History of the Life of Saint Patrick

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The story of St Patrick's Day
Began so long ago
The lyrics in this song
Will tell you
All you need to know
The seventeenth of March
Is when this joyous holiday
Is celebrated happily
With colorful parades

Dee Lai Dee Dai Dee
Dai Dee Dai Dee
Lai Dee Dai Dee Dai

Patrick was only sixteen when
The pirates captured him
They sold him to slavery
And took him to Ireland

He kept the faith
And made his escape
When he was twenty-two
And made it back to Britain
'Twas the only home he knew

Patrick had a vision
To return to Ireland
And vowed to teach Christianity
Until the bitter end
Legend says that Patrick used
The shamrock to explain
That the Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Are all and one the same

On this day the Irish dress
In many shades of green
And some are feeling lucky
With the leprechauns they've seen
It's music and fun for everyone
We'll party and we'll play
Come one, come all
Come join along
On this St. Paddy's Day!

Saint Patrick, Missionary and Christian Hero
Presented by Gary Hicks at Brook Hill UMC,
Frederick, MD, 2008

* * * * * * * * * *

The Real St. Patrick, Bishop of Ireland

by Fr. Kristopher and Matushka Elizabeth Dowling

The following is paraphrased from St. Fiacc's Hymn of St. Patrick. St. Fiacc, commemorated on October 12th, was a bard before St. Patrick made him a Bishop. Although some modern writers believe that St. Fiacc's Hymn of St. Patrick was written many centuries later; this thought is based on later additions of footnotes following the hymn. However, footnotes in Irish books copied by hand were always added by later copiests; the earlier the book, the more footnotes with Scriptural and other references. Thus, the very well footnoted Hymn of St. Patrick is from a very early source, as is St. Secundinus's Lorica, Hymn on St. Patrick. Whether St. Patrick was one of the group of Priests that travelled to Britain with St. Germanus or not, it is certain from other sources that St. Patrick was a pupil of St. Germanus for a long time, and would have had the same theological foundation. Perhaps modern writers were uncomfortable with the miracles of St. Germanus which occured when he fought the heresy of Pelagius. These miracles are also recorded by St. Bede.

St. Patrick was born in the late Fourth Century. His Father was Calpurnius, a Briton and a Deacon; his mother, Concess, was a Frank and a close relative of St. Martin of Tours. At sixteen years of age, St. Patrick and many others were kidnapped from the family estate near Bannavem Taburniae (some say this was in western Britain, others say it was in Brittany) by the seven vengeful exiled sons of a king of the Britons. This happened after Rome required that all Briton soldiers under Roman authority go to Rome to defend that city from barbarians, leaving Britain without any army or police, as recorded by St. Bede. Many acts of violence and greed were recorded at that time, which St. Bede called a terrible shame in Britain, which had been Christian a long time.

Saint Patrick
St. Patrick's father was killed; his sister disappeared.

St. Patrick was sold into slavery in Ireland. His life turned from youthful simplicity into a lesson for all of us. He was a slave, but obeyed his master. He would not depart until given leave to do so.

St. Patrick's escape from slavery was accomplished with miracles. He was visited in a dream by an angel in the form of a bird, Victor, the conqueror, who arranged a miraculous escape. Patrick said that he needed his master's permission to go home, but his master required a ransom of gold as large as his head. The angel told Patrick to follow a boar. The boar's rooting turned up the gold which was to ransom him. The angel took him to the seacoast sixty miles in one day to meet a ship, but instead the lord of the port sold Patrick to others. Then the fee, a set of brazen cauldrons, tormented the betrayer and his family. When they were admiring the cauldrons, their hands stuck to the metal. The lord of the port repented, was forgiven by Patrick. He converted to the will of God, ransomed Patrick from the slavers, and sent Patrick home. He was baptized by Patrick later, when St. Patrick returned. St. Patrick had been a slave six years.

Patrick had a dream that he must preach the Gospel to the Irish, but Victor had told him to seek an education first. He found his education under St. Germanus of Auxerre, who lived close to the southern part of Gaul which is next to the Mediterranean sea. (St. Fiacc does not record other miracles. The town of St. Patrice near Tours in France claims that it was visited by St. Patrick in midwinter. He was tired and cold, and the frost-covered thorn tree he slept under burst into soft warm blooms above him. In December every year until the tree was destroyed the "flowers of St. Patrick" bloomed there. French archaeological and agriculture societies testified to the truth of this phenomenon into this century.)

St. Germanus took his pupil to Britain to save that country from the errors of Pelagius. (The error of Pelagius was a belief that we may attain salvation through our own efforts without God's help, as if the image of God in us were completely separated from the help of the Holy Spirit, the grace of the living God. This heresy is seen today in mistaking the Holy Spirit for the whims or emotions of the mob; "zeitgeist" instead of Holy Spirit.) St. Fiacc records the work of St. Patrick in Britain under St. Germanus to show the development of his saintly leadership, but St. Patrick, in his Confessio, does not mention this, perhaps because the focus of his life's work was in Ireland. St. Germanus, with a group of priests that included St. Patrick, travelled through Britain convincing people to turn to God, throwing out the false priests of Pelagius known as snakes. St. Bede records in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People that this was accomplished by great miracles of healing. St. Patrick suggested fasting to turn a city from their heresy, but it would not turn, and at nocturns the third night the earth swallowed the city. Later, the same place that St. Germanus and St. Patrick had fasted with their company became the location that clerics went to fast. St. Patrick, who obeyed God's will, defended reverence for God's grace which is necessary for Salvation.

The holy face of Jesus
St. Patrick told St. Germanus that he had often heard the voice of the Irish children calling to him "come St. Patrick and make us saved." St. Germanus said that St. Patrick must go to Pope Celestine (Bishop of Rome from 422 to 432), to be consecrated, because it was proper to do so. But another had been sent to be Bishop of Ireland before him (Bishop Palladius), and St. Patrick had to wait. Bishop Palladius began missions, but he did not live very long.

St. Patrick went to the island of Alanensis in the Mediterranean sea (in the Lerins district, known as St. Honorat near Cannes in France) to pray, and was given Jesus Christ's own staff on Mount Arnum to hold him up. (An engraved stone on the side of the main monastery of the island records that St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, came there to study in the fifth century the sacred sciences in preparation for his mission to Ireland. The staff of Jesus Christ was publicly burned in Dublin in 1538 during the reign of king Henry VIII of England.) In 432, St. Patrick went back to St. Germanus, telling him of the vision and the staff. St. Patrick was then sixty years old. He was sent back to Pope Celestine, who had heard that Palladius had died. The chief consecrator of St. Patrick was Bishop Amatorex of Autissiodorens. Pope Celestine lived only a week after St. Patrick's consecration, and was succeeded by Sixtus III (432-440). Celestine gave St. Patrick relics and many books. At the moment of Patrick's consecration, the Pope also heard the voices of the children calling out: Crebriu and Lesru, two daughters of Glerand, recorded as Saints by St. Fiacc. Patrick later baptized the children. They said out of their mother's womb, "All of Ireland cries unto you." (This cry was to God, not to St. Patrick.)

St. Fiacc does not record the details of what happened at Tara, but this is recorded elsewhere. In 432, Easter coincided with the Druid (pagan) festival. No fire was supposed to be lit but the new lighting of the pagan fire. But St. Patrick lit the Easter fire first. The tradition warned King Laoghaire that if that fire were not stamped out, it would never afterward be extinguished in Erin. The king invited St. Patrick to Tara the next day. St. Patrick was reciting his Breastplate prayer (the "Deer's Cry") on the way from Slane to Tara on Easter Sunday. King Laoghaire had stationed soldiers along the road, expecting to intercept St. Patrick before Tara. The Tripartite Life says, "St. Patrick went with eight young clerics and St. Benen (commemorated November 9th) as a gillie with them, and St. Patrick gave them his blessing before they set out. A cloak of darkness went over them so that not a man of them appeared. Howbeit, the enemy who were waiting to ambush them, saw eight deer going past them, and behind them a fawn with a bundle on its back. That was St. Patrick with his eight, and St. Benen behind them with his tablets on his back." (The Tripartite Life was an eighth century book in three parts to be read in the three day celebration of St. Patrick's Day.)

The wizards before St. Patrick's time (Druids) predicted that an adze head would come over wild sea, his mantle hole-headed (vestments tailored with an opening for the head, not cloth wrapped as the Druids did), his staff crook-headed (Jesus Christ's Pastoral staff, not straight as the Druid's staves), his table in the anterior part of his house (an altar), and all his household (the church) will always answer, "Amen. Amen." They told the king that they would not hide the truth from him, that the posterity of this man would remain until doomsday, because he is the herald of the Prince of Peace.

St. Patrick was called by the Lord and sent to Ireland. He taught that the Trinity is ever with us to sustain us, even when all is misery. He knew firsthand. He taught that God loves us, despite the buffetings of the world.

St. Patrick was diligent until the day he died. He dispelled iniquity. He preached, he baptized, he prayed, he constantly praised God with Psalms, he sang one hundred Psalms every night, he slept on bare flagstone with a wet quilt about him, and his pillow was a pillar stone. He preached for three-score years (including the time before his consecration as bishop when he was a Priest under St. Germanus). St. Secundinus records in his hymn that St. Patrick bore the stigmata of Christ in his righteous flesh.

The folk of Ireland used to worship "si-de" (spirits). They did not believe the true Godhead of the true Trinity. But when St. Patrick was finished, all Ireland believed in the Holy Trinity, believed in Jesus Christ, did not follow nature spirits, and the court at Tara was replaced by the court of Christ at Armagh. In the Confessio, St. Patrick said that he was God's debtor for the great grace of baptism given to so many thousands, for the people reborn in God and then confirmed, and clerics ordained for them everywhere. "Not wishing to bore his readers," St. Patrick gives only a small mention of persecution even unto bonds, twelve dangers to his life, and numerous plots against him. For example, St. Odran, a charioteer for St. Patrick (commemorated February 9th) was warned of danger and pretended weariness, so St. Patrick took the reigns, and Odran in the place of honor was killed with a lance meant for St. Patrick.

When St. Patrick became ill, he decided to go to Armagh. He was met by an angel, who took him to see Victor, and Victor, speaking to him out of rushing fire, said, "Primacy to Armagh; to Christ render thanks. Unto heaven thou shalt go soon. Thy prayers have been granted: the hymn thou hast chosen in thy lifetime shall be a protecting corslet to all. Those men of Ireland that are with thee on the day of doom shall go to judgment."

One of the clergy, Tassach (commemorated April 14), remained with him and gave him Communion. St. Fiacc recalls Joshua: if the sun should stay still in the sky for the death of the wicked, how much more appropriate it should be for brightness to shine at the death of saints. Ireland's clerics came to wake St. Patrick from every road; the sound of the chanting (of angels) had prostrated them. They said that the place was overrun with singing birds: as Victor had appeared as a bird, they thought the winged angels were birds. St. Patrick's soul had separated from his body after pains. God's angels on the first night were waiting upon it without ceasing. When he departed, he went to the other St. Patrick (of Glastonbury, called "old Patrick" commemorated August 24th), because St. Patrick, son of Calpurnius, had promised old Patrick that they should go to heaven together. It is said that from the eighteenth of March to the twentythird of August, to the end of the first month of Autumn, St. Patrick was with angels about him awaiting old Patrick, and together they rose to Jesus, Mary's Son.

St. Fiacc said, "St. Patrick, without sign of vainglory, meditated much good. To be in the service of Mary's Son, it was a pious circumstance wherein he was born."

(Much later in the twelfth century, King Henry II of England, after his part in the death of St. Thomas Beckett, received permission from the Pope to take over Ireland, which had by that time sent its monks to educate all of Europe. The Irish monks read Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other languages. Henry II ruled that no Irish were allowed to attend a seminary. All Irish monasteries in Europe were taken away, mistaking the term Scot which meant the Irish from the north, with Scotland. After that, all of Europe fell into an age of illiteracy which lasted until the Renaissance.)

Mary Ryan D'Arcy notes in, The Saints of Ireland, that, although the staff of Jesus Christ was burned, the hand bell of Saint Patrick and a reliquary box still exist.

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Who Was St. Patrick?
Remembering The Catholic Figure With More Than Just Green Beer
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Religion News Service | By Kimberly Winston
Posted: 03/13/2015 4:47 pm EDT Updated: 03/13/2015 4:59 pm EDT

For Catholics, Episcopalians and some Lutherans, March 17 is the Feast Day of St. Patrick. For the rest of us, it’s St. Patrick’s Day — a midweek excuse to party until we’re green in the face. But who was Patrick? Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland or use the shamrock to explain the Trinity? Why should this fifth-century priest be remembered on this day?

Q: Was St. Patrick a real guy, and would he approve of green beer?

A: Yes, Patrick was a real person, but not much is known of his life. He was born in the late 300s when the Roman Empire extended to England, so he was not “really” Irish — like the vast majority of people who celebrate his day. In his “Confessio,” one of only two surviving documents attributed to him, Patrick wrote that while his father was a Christian deacon, he was not devout. At age 16, Patrick was captured by Irish marauders, carried across the Irish Sea and enslaved. Patrick spent six years alone in the wilderness tending his master’s sheep, praying constantly. “It was among foreigners that it was seen how little I was,” he wrote. He began to have visions and hear voices that told him: “Look, your ship is ready.” So Patrick left his first flock and walked 200 miles to the coast. It’s a pretty safe bet he would have loved a beer, green or otherwise, as he stepped into a boat bound for England.

Q: If Patrick was really British, how did he become so closely associated with the Irish?

A: Back in England, Patrick had a dream in which he heard the voice of the Irish he left behind say, “We beg you to come and walk among us once more.” Patrick took this as a sign and set out for a monastery in Gaul — that’s France today — where he began his religious education. He became a priest, a deacon and finally a bishop and returned to Ireland by his mid-40s. He created convents, monasteries and bishoprics all over Ireland, confronted tyrannical kings and converted hundreds of thousands of people. He was so popular that when he died on March 17 the late 400’s – scholars aren’t sure exactly when – his followers waged a war for custody of his body.

Q: But what about the snakes? And the shamrock? And he wrote the prayer “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” right? RIGHT? You’re killing my buzz!

A: No to all of the above. Patrick did not chase the snakes out of Ireland. As an island, Ireland never had snakes. But the story is probably a metaphor for Patrick’s driving out Druids and other forms of Irish paganism. And there’s no way of knowing whether Patrick picked up a three-leafed shamrock and used it to explain the Christian doctrine of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But it’s a nice story. And as for the prayer, it probably dates to the seventh or eighth century. And here’s a fun fact: Patrick was sainted by a local bishop shortly after his death, not by the official saint-making mechanism of the Catholic Church, which was not yet in place. So no miracles were required for his sainthood. He was kind of grandfathered in [after the fact].

Q: If he didn’t do any of those things, what did he do that would make him worthy of getting a whole day dedicated to him (plus a bunch of parades and a whole lot of green beer)?

A: Short answer: Patrick was a maverick, an iconoclast, a trailblazer. And though he was high born, he never forgot the naked shepherd boy, cold and hungry and huddling on an Irish hillside. “The imagined Patrick to me is interesting as a cultural phenomenon, but not as a breathing man of faith,” said Philip Freeman, author of “St. Patrick of Ireland.” “He suffered terribly, was tormented by self-doubt, yet he always pressed forward to spread the Gospel.” He was also the first church father to speak out against the abuse of women, especially slaves. And at a time when Christian biggies like the Apostle Paul and St. Augustine never left the boundaries of the Roman Empire, Patrick was the first missionary to people considered barbarians. In the words of Thomas Cahill, “The step he took was in its way as bold as Columbus’, and a thousand times more humane [than brutal Columbus].”