St. Patrick (385 – 471)
A Prayer, “The Deer’s Cry”
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 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 host to save me
From snares and devils,
From temptations and vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and near,
Alone and in a multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and these evils:
Against every cruel, 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 and idolatry,
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 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 side, Christ on my left side;
Christ in the heart of everyone 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 Holy Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
~ Deer’s Cry: St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Ed. and Trans. Malachi McCormick. Stone Street Press, 1982.
God of All Things
Our God is the God of all, the God of heaven and earth, of the sea and of the rivers.
The God of the sun and of the moon and of all the stars;
The God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys.
He has His dwelling around heaven and earth, and sea, and all that in them is.
~ Quoted in St. Patrick, Eerdmans, 1997, pg. 10.
The patron saint of Ireland, his father was a deacon, his grandfather a priest (celibacy was not yet a rule for the Western clergy); his uncle the renowned St. Martin of Tours. For six years, Patrick was a slave in Ireland before he escaped to the continent. Around the year 432 Patrick returned to Ireland as a priest to begin the missionary work of conversion. He climbed the high conical mountain, now called Crough Patrick, over-looking the Atlantic Ocean and the islands of Clew Bay. He meditated there for forty days and prayed for the conversion of the Irish people amidst stormy winds and torrential rains. St. Patrick accomplished three great things: He organized the Christianity which already existed in Ireland; he converted the kingdoms which were still pagan; he taught a vision of Christ’s presence in all things. His character and continual reliance upon Christ more than his words converted the Irish. He made entry into the religious life the supreme adventure for youth for it required a willingness to enter deep into a knowledge of the sacred mysteries and to sacrifice oneself for the glory of God and for the raising up of human society in the example of Christ. He is best known through his followers who continued with a fervency in invoking the Holy Trinity, and in desiring experiential knowledge of Christ. His ecological relevance stems from his unwavering emphasis of the Holy Trinity and its interpenetration with all parts of creation. For St. Patrick a holy intimacy existed between the human, the divine and the natural. Together these formed a sacramental universe in which birds, animals and natural phenomena often represented signs of supernatural grace.
God in All Things
He inspires all, He gives life to all, He dominates all, He supports all.
He lights the light of the sun. He furnishes the light of the night.
He has made springs in dry land.
He is the God of heaven and earth, of sea and rivers, of sun, moon and stars,
of the lofty mountain and the lowly valley, the God above heaven,
and in heaven and under heaven.
~ Quoted in St. Patrick, Eerdmans, 1997, pg. 11.
A Blessing on Munster
God’s blessing upon Munster,
Its men, women, children! A blessing on the land which gives them fruit!
A blessing on every wealth
Which is brought forth on their marches!
No one to be in want of help: God’s blessings on Munster!A blessing on their peaks,
On their bare flagstones,
A blessing on their glens,
A blessing on their ridges!
Like sand of sea under ships
Be the number of their hearths:
On slopes, on plains, on mountain sides, on peaks.
~ Translated by Whitley Stokes and quoted by Alice Boyd-Proudfoot, Sixteen Centuries with Ireland’s Patron Saint: Patrick, Macmillan Publishing Co., New York 1983, pg. 95