Today the church remembers St. Patrick, the 5th Century missionary to Ireland.
He was not religious as a child, and as an early teen was seized by Irish raiders and sold as a slave in Ireland. In his bondage and loneliness, he began to pray every day.
He eventually managed to escape in his late teens and returned to Roman-Britain, now spiritual and convinced that he was called to serve the Irish people not as a slave, but as a shepherd.
He studied for the priesthood, and became Bishop of Ireland in the 430’s.
Lore is legion for this Irish saint, and he became known for standing up for the Irish, even against the will and decrees of his native Roman-British. He was known for leading a vigorous and historic life. He died in 461 in County Down.
Prayer of St. Patrick (updated by me):
Christ with me,
Christ before me, leading to stand between my neighbor and those who would harm them, shoot them, slur them,
Christ behind me, pulling me back from being the harmer, the shooter, the slanderer.
Me in Christ.
Christ beneath me, showing me how to care for those trod under the feet of a system that favors the already-favored,
Christ above me, pulling me out of the pit of depression and all the personal hells we all find ourselves in,
Christ on the right of me, teaching me to love those more conservative than me,
Christ on the left of me, teaching me to love those more liberal than me,
Christ when I lie down, making my bed in the many and various agreements I find myself in that I am proud, and not so proud, of…agreements that betray my values, and also ones that speak to the kind of human I want to be,
Christ when I sit down with the protesters…(Christ make me sit down, that should say), and when I sit down and keep quiet because I’ve seen my privilege and they don’t need another voice like mine in the mix,
Christ when I arise like a phoenix from the fires that almost take my life,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks, fondly or unfondly, of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks, kindly or unkindly, of me,
Christ in the eye of all who see me at my best and worst,
Christ in the ear of everyone who hears me, at my best and at my worst.
St. Patrick is a testament to how, when we fall in love with a people, we also fall in line with them against the powers of the world that threaten them. He was an ally for the abused Irish, and is now one of their patron saints.