Did you wear something green yesterday? I did. I noticed most people wore some article of green clothing in honor of St. Patrick's Day. For most folks, the day is a fun celebration of Irish traditions - even if we aren't Irish. It is has been said jokingly that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. My guess is that most of us forget who St. Patrick really was.
Born sometime in the late fourth century on the coast of England or Scotland, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates at age sixteen and kept as a slave for six years. He spent most of that time out tending his master's herds. It was outside in the woods and mountains that he learned to pray -- often beginning before dawn. Some days he would pray as many as a hundred prayers when "the spirit was fervent within."
Eventually he escaped, found his family again, and felt a call to the priesthood. When he finished his training, the pope sent him back to Ireland as a missionary. He travelled all over the country founding churches and monasteries. He was perhaps the major influence in sharing the good news of God's love with the people of Ireland.
There is an ancient prayer attributed to Saint Patrick called "The Breastplate." I invite you to use this version of it as your prayer today.
Prayer for Today
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,
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 when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me. Amen.