Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Níl aon bheoir ghlas anseo.  Slainte.  😉

Irish Blessing
Hail Glorious St. Patrick, hymn

We’re big on tradition here at Reforming the Line (if you haven’t guessed). This is our traditional St Patrick’s Day post but we’ve added a few surprises this year.

Irish Impressions

In 1919, G. K. Chesterton, wrote down his observations on a trip to Ireland.  In particular, he spent time in a Dublin hotel over looking St. Stephen’s Green and mused on a most certain proof about St. Patrick as he had experienced it himself….

When I had for the first time crossed St. George’s Channel, and for the first time stepped out of a Dublin hotel on to St. Stephen’s Green, the first of all my impressions was that of a particular statue, or rather portion of a statue. I left many traditional mysteries already in my track, but they did not trouble me as did this random glimpse or vision. I have never understood why the Channel is called St. George’s Channel; it would seem more natural to call it St. Patrick’s Channel since the great missionary did almost certainly cross that unquiet sea and look up at those mysterious mountains.

 – G. K. Chesterton, Two Stones in Square, Irish Impressions, 1919
St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland, circa 1919

The image above is what Chesterton would have seen.  It’s a print of the green as it looked at the end of the 19th century.

The “Apostle of Ireland”

Although St. Patrick is an accepted icon of our day, there was a time, as Chesterton observed in 1923, that he was thought to be a myth because, like St. Francis,  he was attributed miracles.  In his book on St. Francis, he observed that…

And the really logical conclusion from throwing doubts on all tales like the miracles of Saint Francis was to throw doubts on the existence of men like Saint Francis. And there really was a modern moment, a sort of high-water mark of insane scepticism, when this sort of thing was really said or done. People used to go about saying that there was no such person as Saint Patrick; which is every bit as much of a human and historical howler as saying there was no such person as Saint Francis. There was a time, for instance, when the madness of mythological explanation had dissolved a large part of solid history under the universal and luxuriant warmth and radiance of the Sun-Myth. I believe that that particular sun has already set, but there have been any number of moons and meteors to take its place.

-G. K. Chesterton,  St. Francis, 1923

The Lorica ( Faeth Fiada ) of St. Patrick

While this is often a day of green beer and celebrations, it was not always so.  The life of Patrick teaches us the exact opposite.  It was a life of submission to the Christ.  It was a life of courage and forgiveness lived out by coming back to Ireland, from his native England, to invite his former captors to taste and accept the freedom of Christ.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and 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 obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

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
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 summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes 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 women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

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 every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

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

St. Patrick (ca. 377) Read St. Patrick’s Confession

St Patrick’s Lorica
Hail Mary (Irish)
Our Father (Irish)

Read the lecture: Irish Impressions

Image source: Photochrom print showing the green at the end of the 19th century Saint Stephen’s Green Park, Dublin, Ireland, ca. 1899, Wikimedia commons

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