Mar 17, 2011

St. Patrick: Revivalist

Patrick was a young Welsh or Scottish bishop's son, born around 385 AD. He was a happy, normal, nominally religious young man - until he was kidnapped by pirates that is.
He was sold into slavery to a man who lived in Ireland to tend his sheep and pigs.

The Druids ruled Ireland in that day and a darker period in that land's history has never been seen since. They covered then land with unspeakable horror including human sacrifice to bloodthirsty gods thereby earning that region the name of "The Dark Isle". They reveled in evil, in horror, in death, in the the occult, in anything void of light or goodness.

As it was a well known fact that no outsider who entered "The Dark Isle" ever returned, Patrick's family gave him up for dead.

Patrick himself lived in constant fear of his life. Often existing on the swill he fed to the swine in his care he prayed against hope that someday he might escape. He said of this time, "The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. Every breath in was a prayer, every breath out was a prayer."

Then he had a dream - a dream that showed him a path of escape. He took it, by the grace of God, and in time was miraculously reunited with his family.

That's not the end of the story, though.

One night back at home he had another dream. In his dream he saw a man, an Irish man, come towards him bearing a letter. The man read from the letter a plea from the people of Ireland that said, "Please, return to us, Man of God. Now that you are gone we have no hope. We beg you, come walk among us once more and teach us the ways of God."

With the cry of the people who had once enslaved him ringing in his ears, Patrick began to study the Bible. He spent several years preparing, determined to fulfill the call he so firmly believed was of God.  He counted the cost of his mission.  In time he did go, he did preach.

He stood alone against the powers of darkness, knowing the God who created light walked with him. He fought the occult powers of the Druids through great and constant prayer. They tried to kill him, tried to poison him, tried to steal the few followers that listened to his preaching, tried to divide the church that he established. Through it all he preached a Gospel of resurrection life and the light of Christ in the darkest of places. His flame of faith caught. First a few, then another, then yet another until it became a forest-fire of revival sweeping across the Emerald Isle. He went to save a people, and he was successful!

So successful, in fact, that in his lifetime the reputation of Ireland changed so drastically that it came to be known to the rest of the world as the "Isle of Light". From his solitary ministry came preachers, teachers, evangelists, missionaries...and a message that has lasted so long after his death.

In this day of partying, fun, and wearing green, don't forget the message of the man that we honor: The message of the light that shines in the darkness when the darkness cannot comprehend it.


I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through the belief in the threeness
Through the 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 Day

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim
In obedience of angels
In the service of archangels
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward
In prayers of patriarchs
In predictions of prophets
In preaching of apostles
In deeds of righteous men

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven
Light of sun
Radiance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
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 way to lie before me
God's shield to protect me
God's host to save me
From snares of demons
From temptations of vices
From everyone who shall wish me ill
Afar and a'near
Alone and in multitude

I summon today all these powers between me and those 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 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 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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