I’ve always been inspired and humbled by the story of St. Patrick, not the myths that have perpetuated over time, but the REAL story of St. Patrick as shared by the letters he wrote over 1500 years ago.
The man who we know as St. Patrick wasn’t Irish. He was a rebellious atheist Roman teenager who was living a life of luxury in fifth-century Britain when he was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He was taken to Ireland where he lived as a slave in horrible conditions for six years. One day, he heard the voice of God which compelled him to plan his escape. After walking hundreds of miles with no preparations, he managed to convince a ship of pirates to give him passage back to Britain. But here’s the twist…instead of returning to his life of luxury, he returned to Ireland to minister to those who had enslaved him and eventually became a bishop. His life was full of opposition, struggle, abuse, persecution, and threats of murder. Despite all of his hardship, he continued to overcome adversity and remained unwaveringly committed to the calling that had been placed on his life.
You don’t need to be Irish or Christian to find the story of St. Patrick is inspiring and compelling. Rather than a “rags to riches” story, it is quite the opposite. It is the story of a once wealthy man who chose to become a poor simple man in order to pursue his calling. It is the story of a teenager who overcame hardship and adversity only to return to a life of poverty and struggle to minister to those who enslaved and abused him. It is the story of a man who remained committed to his calling, despite all of the opposition and persecution. It is also a story of love, forgiveness, and grace.
And for those of us who need hope, it is a story of how we too can overcome any challenge through the strength and power of the Almighty.
The following is known as the Prayer of St. Patrick, or St. Patrick’s breastplate. Formerly attributed to St. Patrick, it is now believed that it was written by an unknown author. Regardless of who penned this beautiful prayer, I hope it inspires you with courage, strength, and perseverance to overcome whatever you may face.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the 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 hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
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 down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
~St. Patrick’s Breastplate
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.