Tuesday, March 14, 2006

St. Patrick's feast day on Friday

This Friday, March 17, is recognized as St. Patrick's feast day.

Raised and taught the Christian faith by a godly mother, Patrick rejected her teaching somewhat like Augustine did his own mother’s, in favor of the pleasures of sin. Kidnaped as a sixteen year old by Irish pirates, Patrick was put in charge as a shepherd to sheep. Hours and days of solitude followed. Years later, Patrick wrote in his Confessions:

I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God and was carried away captive; but in that strange land (Ireland) the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and although late I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children...Well every day I used to look after sheep and I used to pray often during the day, the love of God and fear of him increased more and more in me and my faith began to grow and my spirit stirred up, so that in one day I would pray as many as a hundred times and nearly as many at night. Even when I was staying out in the woods or on the mountain, I used to rise before dawn for prayer, in snow and frost and rain, and I felt no ill effect and there was no slackness in me. As I now realize, it was because the Spirit was glowing in me.
Tradition attributes a hymn, I Bind Myself to Thee to Patrick, though he did not write it, that clearly shows his faith. An ancient piece of armor known as a lorica protected the chest as a breastplate. Tradition has inscribed a portion of “I Bind Myself to Thee” upon this breastplate. As a craft project, last year I had my students design a wall-hanging using a copy that I made. If you would like a copy of this, leave me a message and I’ll be happy to email this in Word or WordPerfect.

The words on the breastplate are
"Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me. Christ in every ear that hears me."

Patrick’s life is a fascinating one to study. The above paragraph from his Confessions makes a good copy piece for logic stage students. Some books to choose from for grammar and logic stages are

St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons (ages grammar and logic)
The Story of Saint Patrick by James Janda (ages grammar and logic)
Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie De Paola (ages grammar and logic)
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill (ages rhetoric stage and up).

A DVD about Patrick’s life is
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend
, which can also be found at Netflix.

A VHS one-man play The Confession of Saint Patrick is directly from his Confessions.

An interesting and helpful online resource of Patrick's Confessions is
St. Patrick’s Confession.


Jeff Miller said...

...and the Prayer of St. Patrick by John Rutter is a lovely setting of the text you mention.

Carol in Oregon said...

The entire Lorica is a great read, especially in times of trouble.

Seasonal Soundings said...

Jeff---Thank you! John Rutter a favorite of mine. I did not know he had Patrick's Prayer in anthem form. I listened to a clip at Amazon. It is lovely!

Carol---Thanks for the head's up about the entire Lorica. I had to post it. Thank you, good friend!