St. Patrick's Day: Day 28 / by Jeff Tacklind

“In becoming an Irishman, Patrick wedded his world to theirs, his faith to their life…Patrick found a way of swimming down to the depths of the Irish psyche and warming and transforming Irish imagination – making it more humane and more noble while keeping it Irish.”  Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization

Last night Leprechaun’s came into Lila’s room and played some pranks.  At least they tried.  This has gone better in years past, because last night’s shenanigans were left up to me and not the original instigator of this tradition, Mia.  Mia was spending the night at a friend’s house, helping her friend with the dreaded baby project (an exercise in madness if there ever was one, but that is a blog for another time). 

Lila had to remind me that she was really hoping they would come.  “Like, really hoping, dad.”  She’s young enough to still feel the magic, but old enough to realize that it doesn’t hurt to keep the parents in the loop.  It is all because of that blasted time the tooth fairy forgot to show up.  I’ll never live that one down.  Needless to say, I gave it my best shot.

I’ve never been much of a St. Patrick’s day participant.  I forget to wear green. I don’t drink green beer. I don’t go around pinching people.  The whole day feels a little silly.  But Patrick doesn’t.  Like every saint, there are all kinds of crazy fabrications and stories about chasing snakes from Ireland and such, but don’t let this detract from the incredible power and influence of his story. If Thomas Cahill is right, and the Irish did save civilization, well then, the credit really should go to Patrick, because he saved the Irish.  And he did it as a missionary returning to the land where he had escaped from after being kidnapped.  It is such a great story, and Cahill’s book is a wonderful read.

So, today, in honor of St. Patrick, I thought I’d just leave you with a wonderful bit of his brilliance.  It is from his ‘breastplate prayer.’ And the whole thing is so good!  Each stanza begins with the phrase, “I arise today.”  This is a truncated version of the much longer prayer…but I pray that it will speak to your heart as it does to mine.  Happy St. Patrick’s day!

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 see 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 host to secure me –

Christ, be 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 where I lie, Christ where I sit,
Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.