Lent 07: Day 22 – Patrick of Ireland

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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.

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Celtic TriuneGod’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.

  2 comments for “Lent 07: Day 22 – Patrick of Ireland

  1. Charles Cowen
    March 8, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Can anyone remind me of the words of a hymn to
    St Patrick I learned as a child in the 1930s
    I only know the beginning now:
    “Hail glorious St Patrick
    Dear saint of our isle.
    Upon your poor children
    Bestow a sweet smile…”
    Very much like to recall the rest…
    Thanks

  2. March 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Hail, Glorious St Patrick

    Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle,
    On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
    And now thou art high in the mansions above,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.
    On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.
    Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, thy words were once strong
    Against Satan’s wiles and an infidel throng;
    Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art;
    O, come to our aid, in our battle take part.
    On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.
    In the war against sin, in the fight for the faith,
    Dear saint, may thy children resist unto death;
    May their strength be in meekness, in penance, their prayer,
    Their banner the cross which they glory to bear.
    On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.
    Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
    Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;
    And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,
    Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.
    On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.
    Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,
    Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,
    And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,
    For God and Saint Patrick, and our native home.
    On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,
    On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

    Words by Sister Agnes

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