Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 5 October – Christ be Near

Our Morning Offering – 5 October – Monday of the Twenty Seventh week in Ordinary Time

Excerpt from St Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ be Near
St Patrick (c 386 – 461)

Christ be near, at either hand,
Christ behind, before me stand,
Christ with me, where’er I go,
Christ around, above, below.

Christ be in my heart and mind,
Christ within my soul enshrined,
Christ control, my wayward heart,
Christ abide and ne’er depart.

Christ my life and only way,
Christ my lantern, night and day,
Christ be my unchanging friend,
guide and shepherd to the end.

We have this prayer and his own story in one of the few certainly authentic writings of Patrick – his Confessio, which is above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT SJ- Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on COURAGE, QUOTES on DISCIPLESHIP, QUOTES on DIVINE PROVIDENCE, QUOTES on EVANGELISATION, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 21 June – ‘Proclaim on the housetops.’

One Minute Reflection – 21 June – “Month of the Sacred Heart” – Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalm 69:8-10, 14, 17, 33-35, Romans 5:12-15, Matthew 10:26-33 and the Memorial of St Aloysius de Gonzaga SJ (1568-1591)

“What you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” … Matthew 10:27matthew 10 27 - what you hear whispered proclaim on the housetops 21 june 2020

REFLECTION – “It is not I who undertook this work but, it is Christ the Lord who commanded me to come to be with these Irish pagans for the rest of my life, if the Lord shall will it and shield me from every evil … But I do not trust myself “as long as I am in this mortal body” (2 Pt 1:13; Rm 7:24) … I did not lead a perfect life like other believers but I confess to my Lord and do not blush in His sight because I am not lying, from the time when I came to know Him in my youth, the love of God and fear of Him increased in me and right up until now, by God’s favour, “I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7).

What is more, let anyone laugh and taunt if he so wishes.   I am not keeping silent, nor am I hiding “the signs and wonders” (Dn 6:27) that were shown to me by the Lord many years before they happened, He who knew everything, even before the beginning of time.   Thus, I should give thanks unceasingly to God, who has frequently forgiven my folly and my negligence, in more than one instance and has never been angry with me, who am placed as His helper, though I did not easily assent to what had been revealed to me, as the Spirit was urging. The Lord “took pity” on me “thousands upon thousands” of times, (Ex 20:6) because He saw within me, that I was prepared to serve Him. … Many were trying to prevent this mission, they were talking among themselves behind my back and saying, “Why is this fellow throwing himself into danger among enemies who do not know God?”   Not from malice did they say this, as I myself can testify, they perceived my rusticity.   And I was not quick to recognise the grace that was then in me, I now know, that I should have done so earlier.

Now I have put it frankly to my brothers and co-workers, who have believed me because of what “I have proclaimed and still proclaim” (2 Co 13:2) to strengthen and reinforce your faith.   I wish only, that you too, would make greater and better efforts.   This will be my pride, for “a wise son makes a proud father.” (Pr 10:1)” … St Patrick (c 385-461) – The Confessions, # 43-47it is not I who undertook this work - st patrick 21 june 2020

PRAYER – Lord God, teach us to fear and love Your Holy Name, for You never withdraw Your guiding hand, from those You establish in Your love.   Guide our ways and direct our hearts, live in us and walk before us.   May the intercession of St Aloysius Gonzaga help us to fully utilise the many gifts our Almighty God has bestowed on us as we journey home.   We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, in union with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.st-aloysius-gonzaga-pray-for-us-21-june-2018-pg and 21 june 2020

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 17 March – Christ be Near

Our Morning Offering – 17 March – Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

Excerpt from St Patrick’s Breastplate – Christ be Near
St Patrick (c 386 – 461)christ be near - st patrick - 17 march 2020

Christ be near, at either hand,
Christ behind, before me stand,
Christ with me, where’er I go,
Christ around, above, below.

Christ be in my heart and mind,
Christ within my soul enshrined,
Christ control, my wayward heart,
Christ abide and ne’er depart.

Christ my life and only way,
Christ my lantern, night and day,
Christ be my unchanging friend,
guide and shepherd to the end.

We have this prayer and his own story in one of the few certainly authentic writings of Patrick – his Confessio, which is above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

Posted in MARTYRS, SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 17 March

St Patrick (c 386-461) (Optional Memorial)
About dearly loved St Patrick:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/saint-of-the-day-17-march-st-patrick/

St Agricola of Châlon-sur-Saône
St Alexander
St Ambrose of Alexandria
Bl Conrad of Bavaria
St Diemut of Saint Gall
St Gabriel Lalemant
St Gertrude of Nivelles OSB (626-659)
About St Gertrude:
https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/saint-of-the-day-17-march-st-gertrude-of-nivelles-o-s-b-626-659/
Bl Gertrude of Trzebnica
St Jan Sarkander (1576-1620) Priest and Martyr
Bl Josep Mestre Escoda
St Joseph of Arimathea
Bl Juan Nepomuceno Zegrí y Moreno (1831-1905)
His life:
https://anastpaul.com/2019/03/17/saint-of-the-day-17-march-blessed-juan-nepomuceno-zegri-y-moreno-1831-1905/
St Llinio of Llandinam
Bl Maria Bárbara Maix
St Paul of Cyprus
St Stephen of Palestrina
St Theodore of Rome
St Thomasello
St Withburga of Dereham

Martyrs of Alexandria – Also known as Martyrs of Serapis: An unknown number of Christians who were martyred together by a mob of worshippers of the Graeco-Egyptian sun god Serapis. They were Martyred in c 392 in Alexandria, Egypt.

Posted in SAINT of the DAY, YouTube VIDEOS

The 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C & Memorials of the Saints – 17 March

The Second Sunday of Lent, Year C

St Patrick (c 386-461) (Optional Memorial)
About dearly loved St Patrick: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/saint-of-the-day-17-march-st-patrick/

St Agricola of Châlon-sur-Saône
St Alexander
St Ambrose of Alexandria
Bl Conrad of Bavaria
St Diemut of Saint Gall
St Gabriel Lalemant
St Gertrude of Nivelles OSB (626-659)
About St Gertrude: https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/saint-of-the-day-17-march-st-gertrude-of-nivelles-o-s-b-626-659/
Bl Gertrude of Trzebnica
St Jan Sarkander
Bl Josep Mestre Escoda
St Joseph of Arimathea
Bl Juan Nepomuceno Zegrí y Moreno (1831-1905)
St Llinio of Llandinam
Bl Maria Bárbara Maix
St Paul of Cyprus
St Stephen of Palestrina
St Theodore of Rome
St Thomasello
St Withburga of Dereham

Martyrs of Alexandria – Also known as Martyrs of Serapis: An unknown number of Christians who were martyred together by a mob of worshippers of the Graeco-Egyptian sun god Serapis. They were Martyred in c 392 in Alexandria, Egypt

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, The HOLY TRINITY

Our Morning Offering – 6 June – Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year B

Our Morning Offering – 6 June – Wednesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year B

Excerpt of the Lorica
St Patrick (c 385-461)

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 hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation,
Amenexcerpt of the lorica - st patrick - i arise today through God's strength - 6 june 2017

It is believed that St Patrick composed the prayer in 433, before he was about to convert High King of Ireland Lóegaire mac Néill.   It is called a “lorica,” which literally means “deer leap” but is usually translated as “breastplate” and is a prayer of one who is going into battle, a prayer for protection.   In this case, it was a spiritual battle against the paganism and evil spirits of the Emerald Isle.

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

Thought for the Day – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

Something strange and wonderful happened in Ireland.   All alone, frightened for his life and among people who worshipped trees and stones, Patrick opened his heart to God.

That happens to a lot of us, doesn’t it?  When everything’s going great, we don’t have any time for God.   But then something awful and painful happens and there we are, back at God’s feet.

During those years, Patrick started to pray.   He thought about God all the time and it gave him peace of mind.   He knew that no matter how much he was suffering, God loved him.

Eventually, Patrick escaped from slavery and traveled to France, which in those days was called Gaul.   We’re not sure exactly how much time Patrick spent in Gaul.   But it was enough time for him to draw closer to God as he prayed and studied in a monastery.

One night, deep in a dreamy vision, Patrick heard voices.   He heard many voices, joined together, pleading with him.

“Come back,” the voices cried, “come back and walk once more among us.”

Patrick knew it was the Irish people calling him.

Strengthened by the courage that only God can give, Patrick went back.   He returned to the very people who had stolen him from his family, worked him mercilessly as a slave and knew little, if anything, about the love of the true God.

Before he left Gaul, Patrick was made the bishop of Ireland.   He then travelled across the sea to teach Ireland about Jesus Christ.

It wasn’t easy.   The people of Ireland practised pagan religions.   They worshipped nature and they practised magic.   They feared the spirits they believed lived in the woods.   The Irish people believed they could bring evil spirits down on those they wanted to harm.

Patrick had a big job ahead of him.   He had to show a country full of students that there was no point in horsewhipping nature.   Trees can’t forgive your sins or teach you how to love.   The sun, as powerful as it is, could not have created the world.   Patrick explained things using simple examples that people could easily understand.   For example, he used the three-leaf clover to show people how there could be three persons in one God.

Patrick preached to huge crowds and small villages.   He preached to kings and princes. He preached in the open air and he preached in huts.   Patrick never stopped preaching, and he never stopped teaching.   He couldn’t stop—the whole country of Ireland was his classroom and he couldn’t afford to miss even one student!

Soon, Patrick had help.   Men became priests and monks.   Women became nuns. Wherever they lived, those monks and nuns settled in monasteries and set up schools. More students were being reached every day.

But, of course, the greatest help Patrick had was from God.

When he was young, Patrick had forgotten God but that would never happen again.   He knew that God supported him in every step he took.   God gave Patrick the courage to speak, even when Patrick was in danger of being hurt by pagan priests who didn’t want to lose their power over the people.

St Patrick, please, please pray for us all, you who faced it all!st5-patrick-pray-for-us-2017

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Quote/s of the Day – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

Quote/s of the Day – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

All quotations from “The Confession of St Patrick”

“For that sun, which we see rising every day, rises at His command…”

“Each and all shall render account for even our smallest sins
before the judgement seat of Christ the Lord.”

“In a single day,
I have said as many as a hundred prayers
and in the night almost as many…”for that sun, which we see - st patrick - 17 march 2018

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God…”if i have any - st patrick - 17 march 2018

“I am Patrick, yes a sinner and indeed untaught;
yet I am established here in Ireland,
where I profess myself bishop.
I am certain in my heart that ‘all that I am,’
I have received from God.
So I live among barbarous tribes, a stranger and exile
for the love of God.”i am patrick, yes a sinner - st patrick - 17 march 2018

“May the strength of God pilot us,
may the wisdom of God instruct us,
may the hand of God protect us,
may the word of God direct us.
Be always ours this day and for evermore.”

St Patrick (c 386-461)may the strength of god - st patrick - 17 march 2018

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

One Minute Reflection – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”…Matthew 6:26

REFLECTION – “And He watched over me before I knew Him and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil and He protected me and consoled me as a father would His son.”…St Patrickand he watched over me - st patrick - 17 march 2018

PRAYER – You, O God, are our Father! How glorious is that fact and Your love. Teach us to trust in You and to follow the way You taught through our Lord and Saviour, Your Son, Jesus Christ. Allow that by the prayers of St Patrick, we may all come to see Your Face, the Face of our Father, to gaze on You, to love and worship You, with Christ and the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amenst patrick - pray for us - 2018

Posted in CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

Our Morning Offering – 17 March – The Memorial of St Patrick (c 386-461)

Excerpt from St Patrick’s Breastplate (also known as The Deer Cry)

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place and in all hours
against their fierce hostility, …….
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation:
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Amenthe deer cry - st patrick's prayer - i bind unto myself - 17 march 2018

Posted in BREVIARY Prayers, CATHOLIC-PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, PRAYERS of the CHURCH, PRAYERS of the SAINTS

Our Morning Offering – 16 January

Our Morning Offering – 16 January

St Patrick’s Morning Prayer

As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the Word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
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,
Christ when I stand,
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.
Amen.as i arise today - st patrick's morning prayer - 16 jan 2018

Posted in LENT, SAINT of the DAY

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Friday 17 March

LENTEN REFLECTION – The Second Week- Friday 17 March

LENTEN REFLECTION FRIDAY 17 MARCH

On the Memorial of St Patrick, there can be few better reflections than the complete Prayer/Hymn of the Breastplate.   St. Patrick came to Ireland and showed all of them the way to the truth of God.   He preached the Good News of God to them and called them to repent their past sins and wickedness.   St. Patrick taught them the truth about God, including what is now famous as his symbol of the Holy Trinity, the three-leaf clover.   He taught them how God is a perfect and loving union of three Divine Persons, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as inseparable as the three-leaf clover’s parts from each other.

And God Who is perfect in Love, and Who is indeed Love, wants to share that love with all of us His people.  That is exactly why He has given us His commandments, His laws and ways and Jesus His Son to be our salvation from the darkness, by bringing us into the light of His new world and life filled with love and grace, no longer with greed, evil, wickedness, ego and all other human ambitions and vileness.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate (also known as The Deer Cry-see the reason below)

St. Patrick of Ireland, 387-460 AD

(translation by Cecil Frances Alexander)

This Celtic hymn, which dates from the late seventh or early eighth century, is ascribed to St. Patrick. It reflects many of the themes found in Patrick’s thought. It is believed that Patrick wrote this hymn as a breastplate of faith for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil – devils, vice and the evil which humans perpetrate against one another. Legend has it that the High King of Tara, Loeguire, on Holy Saturday 433 AD, resolved to ambush and kill Patrick and his monks to prevent them from spreading the Christian faith in his kingdom. As Patrick and his followers approached singing this hymn, the king and his men saw only a herd of wild deer and let them pass by. This hymn is both a prayer and statement of faith to be recited for protection, arming oneself for spiritual battle, leading us all to reflect upon the power of God in our lives, the strength of His protection and the way we are go on towards our heavenly home.

I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
his baptism in the Jordan River;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spiced tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet “Well done” in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors’ faith, apostles’ word,
the patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
[Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles
against the heart’s idolatry,
against the wizard’s evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning
the choking wave and poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.]

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation:
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

st-patricks-day-prayer

ST PATRICK PRAY FOR US 2

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Thought for the Day – 17 March

Thought for the Day – 17 March

The amazing influence of one man!   How do you teach a classroom that’s as big as a whole country?    How do you teach a whole country about God?   St. Patrick’s classroom was the whole country of Ireland and his lesson was the good news of Jesus Christ.  ow in the world did he do it?    Well, it was only possible because he depended totally on God.   But letting God give him strength and direction didn’t always come naturally to St. Patrick.   That was a lesson the Lord had to teach him.  And he didn’t get to learn it from understanding, gentle teachers in a comfortable classroom.   He learned it from a band of thieving, roving pirates.   But when he learned he learned it perfectly and he became the most wondrously hardworking, untiring apostle for Christ.   When one considers the state of Ireland when he began his mission work, the vast extent of his labours and how the seeds he planted which continued to grow and flourish – making Ireland one of the greatest Catholic countries in history, which itself proceeded to evangelise the whole world, one can only admire the kind of man Patrick must have been.   We have no way of knowing the fruits of our own lives or how many people our lives may touch.   And this is power of holiness – it endures forever!

St Patrick please pray for us.

ST5 Patrick PRAY FOR USST PATRICK - MARCH 17

 

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 17 March

One Minute Reflection – 17 March

As long as you neglected to do it to one of these least ones, you neglected to do it to me…………..Matthew 25:45

REFLECTION – “May Christ shield me today, Christ with me. Christ before me, Christ behind 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.”………….St Patrick

PRAYER – Lord Jesus the Christ, be with me this day and let me see You in everyone I meet. Grant that I may always serve You in others and so arrive at Your heavenly Kingdom where I will serve You and love You and see You, for ever and ever. St Patrick, pray for us all that we may live as you did and reach our heavenly home, amen.

MATTHEW 25-45

christ in the mouth - st patrick pray for us

Posted in MORNING Prayers, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 17 March

Our Morning Offering – 17 March

Excerpt from St Patrick’s Breastplate (also known as The Deer Cry)

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
[Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course;
of few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours
against their fierce hostility, …….
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation:
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

EXCERPT FROM ST P'S BREASTPLATE

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day – 17 March – St Patrick

Saint of the Day – 17 March – St Patrick (c 386 – 461) also know as Maewyn Succat
and Patricius, Patrizio – Priest, Bishop, Missionary, “Apostle of Ireland” – Patron against fear of snakes or ophidiophobia; ophidiophobics, against snake bites, against snakes, of barbers, hairdressers, barrel makers; coopers, blacksmiths, cattle, engineers, excluded people, miners, Ireland, Nigeria (1961), Loiza, Puerto Rico, 29 dioceses

 

Although we think of Ireland when we talk about St. Patrick, he wasn’t actually born in Ireland.   He was born probably in Scotland.   His father was a deacon and his grandfather had been a priest.   But Patrick didn’t think too much about God.   We don’t really know why this was.   He probably thought he didn’t need God.   He probably thought other things could bring him as much happiness as God could.   God just wasn’t on Patrick’s mind as he roamed the fields of his homeland, tending animals and learning how to be a man.

Patrick

But his happy, carefree life ended one day when crowds of strangers appeared on the horizon.   They looked dangerous and frightening and they were.   They were pirates and thieves, on their way to capture slaves to take back to Ireland.   Patrick was one of those hundreds of captives.   He was snatched from his family and his home.   He was taken from all of his future hopes and dreams.   Patrick was thrown on a ship, bound in chains and taken over the sea to Ireland.   He was sixteen years old.   For six years, Patrick was a slave in Ireland.   He was put to work watching sheep and cattle.   Patrick had just enough food to live on and when he wasn’t working, he tried to rest in tiny huts that were damp and cold.

But something strange and wonderful happened in Ireland.   All alone, frightened for his life and among people who worshiped trees and stones, Patrick opened his heart to God.

That happens to a lot of us, doesn’t it?   When everything’s going great, we don’t have any time for God.   But then something awful and painful happens and there we are, back at God’s feet.

During those years, Patrick started to pray.   He thought about God all the time and it gave him peace of mind.   He knew that no matter how much he was suffering, God loved him.

Eventually, Patrick escaped from slavery and traveled to France, which in those days was called Gaul.   We’re not sure exactly how much time Patrick spent in Gaul.   But it was enough time for him to draw closer to God as he prayed and studied in a monastery.   One night, deep in a dreamy vision, Patrick heard voices.   He heard many voices, joined together, pleading with him.   “Come back,” the voices cried, “come back and walk once more among us.”   Patrick knew it was the Irish people calling him.

Strengthened by the courage that only God can give, Patrick went back.   He returned to the very people who had stolen him from his family, worked him mercilessly as a slave and knew little, if anything, about the love of the true God.

Before he left Gaul, Patrick was made the bishop of Ireland.   He then traveled across the sea to teach Ireland about Jesus Christ.   It wasn’t easy. The people of Ireland practiced pagan religions.   They worshiped nature,and they practiced magic.   They feared the spirits they believed lived in the woods.   The Irish people believed they could bring evil spirits down on those they wanted to harm.

Patrick had a big job ahead of him. He had to show a country full of students that there was no point in worshiping nature.   Trees can’t forgive your sins or teach you how to love.   The sun, as powerful as it is, could not have created the world.   Patrick explained things using simple examples that people could easily understand.   For example, he used the three-leaf clover to show people how there could be three persons in one God.   Patrick preached to huge crowds and small villages.   He preached to kings and princes.   He preached in the open air and he preached in huts.   Patrick never stopped preaching and he never stopped teaching.   He couldn’t stop—the whole country of Ireland was his classroom and he couldn’t afford to miss even one student!

Soon, Patrick had help.   Men became priests and monks.   Women became nuns. Wherever they lived, those monks and nuns settled in monasteries and set up schools. More students were being reached every day.

But, of course, the greatest help Patrick had was from God.

When he was young, Patrick had forgotten God but that would never happen again.   He knew that God supported him in every step he took.   God gave Patrick the courage to speak, even when Patrick was in danger of being hurt by pagan priests who didn’t want to lose their power over the people.

Patrick’s most famous prayer (excerpt below) shows us how close he was to God. It’s called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”   A breastplate is the piece of armour that protects a soldier’s heart from harm.   We have this prayer and his own story in one of the few certainly authentic writings of Patrick – his Confessio, which is above all an act of homage to God for having called Patrick, unworthy sinner, to the apostolate.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left.

ST PATRICK'S CONFESSIO

Patrick banishes all snakes from Ireland
The absence of snakes in Ireland gave rise to the legend that they had all been banished by St. Patrick chasing them into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast he was undertaking on top of a hill.    This hagiographic theme draws on the Biblical account of the staff of the prophet Moses.   In Exodus 7:8–7:13, Moses and Aaron use their staffs in their struggle with Pharaoh’s sorcerers, the staffs of each side morphing into snakes. Aaron’s snake-staff prevails by consuming the other snakes.

 Patrick’s walking stick grows into a living tree
Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach and the Copóg Phádraig.   During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent’s home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff.   He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the dogma took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on.

St Patrick died between 461 and 464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland of natural causes