Green Beer Day

OK, not really. For some this is a day to honor one’s Irish ancestry and heritage, and to eat corned beef and cabbage and potatoes, drink good beer (Guinness, Harp, et al), listen to Irish music, and honor the efforts of an early Christian missionary who is associated with Ireland although he is a Briton. If you are a politician in Boston or New York City, you’d better be seen at an Irish event, or your absence Will Be Noted.

Yes, this is an Orthodox icon of an Irish saint from Britain. Next question?

What a lot of Americans think St. Patrick’s day is about.

Patrick was one of many who went to Ireland to bring Christianity, and succeeded mightily after some difficulties.

Illumination from modern manuscript of St. Patrick’s prayer called “The Deer’s Cry.”

I borrowed part of “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” in Shadows and Anguish. Better known is Madeline L’Engle’s translation from A Swiftly Tilting Planet: “I Meg at this fateful hour/Call on Heaven with its power/ The Snow with its whiteness/The sun with its brightness/The lightning with its rapid path/The winds with their swiftness along their path…” until the final line “All these I place/ With G-d’s almighty help and grace/Between myself and the powers of Darkness.” Variations on the prayer appear throughout the novel and shape the path of Charles Murry and the Pegasus Gaudior. As with much Celtic poetry, the nature imagery weaves a powerful pattern. The repetitions in The Deer’s Cry do something similar, forming a shielding incantation.

The Deer`s Cry

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun, Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

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, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me, Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding,
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 everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

Taken from: http://www.irishchaplaincyparis.fr/2013/03/the-deers-cry-a-hymn-by-st-patrick/

So as you hoist a beer, or eat corned beef and other Irish food, I’d ask that you offer up a kind thought for those trying to preserve civilization and to spread mercy in harsh places, if you are so inclined.

And do not drink until you see the snakes that St. Patrick chased out of Ireland. Just don’t.

9 thoughts on “Green Beer Day

  1. At the center of the knotwork banner I see APTAMB. Can anyone expatiate? Expatriate?

  2. I like how you said Saint Patrick was a Briton.

    I almost got into an argument with somebody about him being English.

    Apparently, the Angles, Saxons & Jutes hadn’t arrived in Britain until after Patrick’s visits to Ireland. 😆

  3. Book recommendation, “How the Irish Saved Civilization” about the Irish monasteries in the 500s and 600s, and the effectvof the teaching missionaries whom they sent to Continental Europe.
    Slanted towards the Irish contribution of course, but lots of information not common elsewhere.
    John

  4. I still remember doing a double take upon seeing the Chicago River one March 17th in the early ’70s. I had forgotten that the river was dyed bright green for the day. (And the parade route along State Street had the center line painted green. Saw a green stripe in a Chicago expat’s restaurant in Silly Valley years later. My friends didn’t quite know why I burst out laughing.)

    Adobada taco for lunch today. No Irish need apply. (Not sure if there any Irish style places in the local city.)

  5. Yes, this is an Orthodox icon of an Irish saint from Britain.

    Better yet, it looks a lot like the stained glass in my mom’s home parish, which was in a county where most of the people came from County Cork.

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