St Patrick’s Day 2020

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St Patrick’s Day 2020

We are indeed living in strange times. Very few of us can remember experiencing a St Patrick’s Day like this. All of the huge changes to what we normally do on this day can feel very disorientating. So much of Ireland coming to a halt and shutting down. There is certainly a feeling of anxiousness and worry, not just about the virus but also about jobs and income. It is at these times I tend to look to the lessons and experience of the past. Knowledge of history can bring wisdom and comfort. I often think of the words of God given through the prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord; “Stand by the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”. Jer 6:16  I was reflecting this morning on all the St Patrick’s Days of the past, all the different moments our past Christian generations have experienced on this date. We as a Church have prayed for St Patrick’s intercession in good times and bad. Today we often tend to have short memories and only remember recent times which then shapes our ideas and feelings so much.

But our people of faith have looked to St Patrick’s protection in war, persecution, famine, disease and fear, as well as times of calm, abundance and prosperity. Countless Irish generations, including St Patrick himself, looked to Christ as their rock and comfort in the worst of times both as a nation and in their individual life journeys. In Him they found strength, comfort and peace that enabled them to move forward with hope and renewed strength. The Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah; “Can a mother forget her baby at the breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”.  Is 49:15-16 We have seen the palms of those hands. They have been pierced out of love for each of us. The Lord Jesus never abandons us, in good times or difficult ones. Listen to His words; ” Come to me , all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. Matt 11:28-29

The Lord has carried His people through so much before and will again. Let us learn the lesson of the past generations who celebrated St Patrick’s Day. In a world that has forgotten God so much, often thinking we can rely on our own strength, let us follow the tried and proven path that leads to Jesus who is our rock, our strength, our hope,  both in the troubles of life’s journey and in eternity to come. As individuals, as families, as a nation,as a Christian family let us today pray in the words of St Patrick.

St Patrick’s breastplate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation

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