A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Meditation Moment in Lent ~ Day 21, Give Up, Take On, Pray

      In the 5th Century, a 16 year-old Roman Briton was captured by Irish pirates and served as a slave for 6 years before his escape back to home.  He credits the time of captivity for his significant spiritual experiences that resulted in conversion to Christianity. 
     After being ordained, Patrick returned to Ireland later in life to preach the message of God in the Trinity, convert, and baptize. As a foreigner who refused the patronage of the Kings, he endured much opposition and was without legal protection. He wrote about beatings, being tied up with chains, periodic imprisonment, and threats of execution. 
        Through it all he Christian-ized many of the early Celtic worship practices, possibly including the sacred symbol of the shamrock that, it has been said, he used to explain the Trinity.
      The famous St. Patrick's Breastplate, also known as the Cry of the Deer, is a prayer poem attributed to him that has been set to music in a variety of ways.  Many of the hymnal versions use only a small portion of the lyrics and it often contains several separate melodies and rhythms within the one hymn. The work with or without music has a cadence of an almost Druidic incantation which the people of his time would have understood.  It isn't often that we see the entire piece and so it is included below, followed by a YouTube rendering of one musical setting. 
      Despite all the myth, fact, and legend, Patrick has had a profound impact as Ireland's Patron Saint, slightly ahead of Sts. Brigid and Columba, and is known throughout the world for far more than just green beer and raucous celebration!

Mo Dhia, (My God),
       Your Servant Patrick taught the native Irish people the One-ness of God in the Three-ness of the Trinity. For today I will give up 15 minutes of my time to take on reading and sitting with the power of the words of his prayer poem. Perhaps I can pick a different smaller portion of it to work with each day this week as "I arise..." I pray to feel the strength of the Breastplate, the armor of my Faith, in my body, mind, and soul, now and always.  amen.

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 splendor 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.

Click here to hear and see this prayer/poem sung to life: The Deer's Cry/St. Patrick's Breastplate

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