17 March 2008

Patrick, Missionary to Ireland

From our Synod's website:

Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year 389, he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop in 432, he made his way back to Ireland, where he spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in a time when it was not popular to do so. His literary legacy includes his autobiography, Confessio, and several prayers and hymns still used in the church today. Patrick died around the year 466.

Attributed to St. Patrick is this hymn from LSB (604):

I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever
By pow'r of faith, Christ's incarnation,
His Baptism in the Jordan River,
His cross of death for my salvation,
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself this day
The pow'r of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The Word of God to give me speech,
His heav'nly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile foes that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me those holy pow'rs.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the God of my salvation;
Salvation is of Christ, the Lord!


Past Elder said...

Being adopted into and raised in an Irish family, I was aware of three strains of thought on St Patrick's Day.

One being the world's general idea that what you do is wear green and get drunk -- which for a people who refer to drunkeness as "the curse", is a less than enviable legacy. I called in sick with a sick son, and my boss seemed concerned about the high absenteeism, so I had the physician fax over a note and to cover to-morrow (to-day) as well, since if he doesn't make it to school it won't be because of a hangover on his or my part. Right now I'm dreading what will probably be that call. I suppose I could mention I myself am actually English and their mother German and Cherokee!

My mother's often stated position that St Patrick's Day as generally observed is an American invention and in Ireland is more like a holy day. Don't know if she was right -- was in Ireland once for a blessedly short time, has to be one of the most dismal places on earth, and everyone I met had dreams of getting out, which puts the nostalgia in a different light.

And speaking of different lights, later I became aware of an Irish sentiment regarding the day as a day of mourning for the loss of the native religion and culture to foreigners -- an event to be repeated under the English -- so Christianty in general and Catholicism in particular should be not embraced as Irish but denounced as foreign and oppressive. Or as Yeats (sometimes the Anglo-Irish are more Irish than the Irish!) put it: a Druid land, a Druid tune.

Dcn. Muehlenbruch said...

What I find to be most unusual about the hymn attributed to St. Patrick is th omission of stanza 6 (Hymnal 1940, Episcopal) in Lutheran hymnals. This stanza is often referred to as St. Patrick's Breastplate.

Christ be with me,
Christ within 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.

Sch├╝tz said...

Sorry, old bean, St Patrick's day was last Friday. Sorry you missed it. It was translated by the highest authority so as not to conflict with Monday in Holy Week, a commmeoration of higher solemnity than St Patrick's day.

Not that it stopped one of my celtic co-workers from keeping the Irish national(istic) custom. Yesterday I challenged him saying "You can't go out and get drunk on Monday in Holy Week!" He came in this morning claiming I was quite wrong and that he had scientifically proved it was possible to do so...

William Weedon said...


I've no idea why that beautiful part of the prayer was left out.


For us it's just a commemoration, not a festival, so it doesn't conflict. It's just an added remembrance in the prayers that day.

Past Elder said...

Aw heck, translating a feast to another day is easy stuff, especially when you're the highest authority. Here, St Patrick's Day was 17 March for those who don't recognise the "highest authority", and not surprisingly for those who do too. The police department's first DUI was issued at 0720.

How about the year in Boston when three major religious observances, of which most of the town was in on two, all fell on the SAME DAY -- Good Friday, Passover, and the Red Sox season opener. Now THAT was a challenge!

In one place where I lived, everyone was Irish and got drunk on 17 March, recovered on 18 March, then everyone was Czech on 19 March and got drunk on St Joseph's Day. It's hard being Catholic ain't it? You guys got any plans to translate St Joseph this year so it doesn't compete with Spy Wednesday -- oh sorry for the pre-conciliar usage there.

BTW, made the call, so far so good. I guess if I show up and my cube is bare I'll know different -- maybe I should send off for some info on that Specific Pastor thing just in case!

As to the LSB omission, they called the indices indexes, so dumping the best known verse of the Breastplate isn't surprising. What's surprising is how much else they got right. Still, the definite article in TLH seems more and more appropriate as time goes by!