Today is a unique day during the Lenten observance. It is the feast day of one of the most beloved saints of all time: Patrick of Ireland.
Patrick composed one of my favorite hymns, St. Patrick’s Breastplate. This hymn is important to our Lenten meditation on love because of the verse near the end of the hymn.
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 hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
An important point about God’s love for us, the one in whom we live and move and have our being, is that there is nowhere we can go to escape it. It is, as Patrick said Christ was.
God’s everlasting, all-encompassing love is:
With me, within me,
behind me, before me,
beside me, to win me,
to comfort and restore me,
beneath me, above me,
in quiet, in danger,
in hearts of all that love me,
in mouth of friend and stranger.
God’s love is all that and more. It is forgiving and long suffering. It is the love of a Father, a Brother, a Counselor, a Servant, and a Friend. It is from everlasting to everlasting. Nothing in all of creation can separate us from it.
He has told us so.
I pray today that God will bless all of us with the same love he showered on Patrick. And like this great saint, may we embrace that love and never shrink back from standing in every circumstance for Jesus Christ and the Gospel of Salvation. May God fill all us us with the same fearless love that Patrick displayed.