Patrick was a missionary to Ireland who God used to convert almost the entire nation from paganism to Christianity. His story is fascinating, and his faith an amazing testimony of the power and wonder of our God. The three-leaf clover in his hands represents the way that he often shared the Gospel, relating the reality of the Trinity. Patrick wrote his own autobiography and at the end of it said this:
Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently offer my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that today among the barbarians I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever, and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives.
This prayer he wrote is equally moving:
Have a blessed Saint Patrick's day. May his life and words draw us to deeper union with Christ and greater faithfulness to His call.I arise todayThrough a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,Through a belief in the Threeness,Through confession of the OnenessOf the Creator of creation.
I arise todayThrough 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 meFrom snares of the devil,From temptations of vices,From every one who desires me ill,Afar and anear,Alone or in a multitude.
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 todayAgainst 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.
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