Mothers’ Union Devotion 17th March 2021 Feast Day of St Patrick
Today is St Patrick’s Day, which has come to epitomise celebrating all things Irish throughout the world. The origin of this day, the enthusiastically hard-working 5th Century missionary Brit, is often pushed to one side in the race to consume lots of that famous dark beer from Dublin. Like many national saints, legend mixes with truth in order to construct a figure who will inspire and hold a nation together. In the case of Patrick, we have two Latin works that were written by him, which gives the legends a basis in fact. The origins of many others spiritual illustrations and works attributed to Patrick do not necessarily come with the same undisputed provenance. Nevertheless, they speak to us in many ways which help us on our journey of faith. The most beautiful of these is the hymn St Patrick’s Breastplate which begins with a strong declaration of trust in the power of calling upon the name of the Trinity:
I bind unto myself today,
The Strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
The penultimate section reminds us just how intimate Christ’s presence is always with us. Surrounding us, holding us, protecting us and healing us as we face the trials, tribulations and joys of each day.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in heart of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
These beautiful words make clear to us just what Jesus’ words, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, meant when he said – Remember I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28. 20). There is a sense that, underneath all the nationalism, Patrick the man of faith, really lived in the awareness of the constant presence of Jesus both with him and in him. This awareness gave him the confidence to face the future with enthusiasm. Overcoming his fears as he strove to bring an awareness of this presence to all those he encountered in his missionary work in Ireland.
Loving Lord, we pray that you will open our eyes to your presence, open our ears to your call, open our hearts to your love and open our will to your command. Amen
With all my love and prayers,