St Patrick and St Joseph Pray For us
This past Wednesday we also celebrated St Patrick, our patron saint. Most people at the morning Mass wore green, and although this year we could not have a social celebration, we kept alive his memory with the liturgical celebration using the Mass prayers remembering him as we asked for his prayers for our parish and all of our parishioners. This past Friday we also celebrated the solemnity of St Joseph, for whom this year is named.
St Joseph appears only at the beginning of the Gospel, in the mysterious and difficult circumstances of how Jesus was born. Then the last time we hear of him is when he and Mary found themselves greatly worried because the twelve-year-old Jesus was not anywhere to be seen in the caravan on their way home. They went back to Jerusalem and found him in the Temple. Joseph was of great importance for Mary and Jesus, and yet not much is known of him. Pope Francis says that “Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all (Patris Corde, Introduction).” God sees all the good you do that may go unnoticed, and God is pleased.
Regarding the mysterious ways in which God chose Joseph to live with and care for the Holy Family, Pope Francis writes, “Often in life, things happen whose meaning we do not understand. Our first reaction is frequently one of disappointment and rebellion. Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. Unless we are reconciled with our own history, we will be unable to take a single step forward, for we will always remain hostage to our expectations and the disappointments that follow” (Patris Corde, 4). I invite you to look up the encyclical letter Patris Corde online and read it.
Another holy man we celebrated this past week, and one we’re blessed to have as our patron saint was St. Patrick, the heroic missionary bishop to Ireland. I’d like to share a prayer he composed known as the breastplate of St Patrick:
“I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through a belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism, through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension, through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today through the strength of the love of cherubim, in obedience of angels, in service of archangels, in the hope of resurrection to meet with reward, in the prayers of patriarchs, in preachings of the apostles, in faiths of confessors, in innocence of virgins, in deeds of righteous men.
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 from snares of the devil, from temptations of vices, from everyone who desires me ill, afar and anear, alone or in a multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and evil, against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul, against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of pagandom, against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry, against spells of women and smiths and wizards, against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that reward may come to me in abundance.
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 every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through a confession of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.”
Fr. Carlos Medina, OSA