Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meditations on St. Patrick's Day and Easter

My column this week will depart from my usual historical probe and present thoughts on St. Patrick's Day (which we of Irish descent celebrated on March 17) and on Easter, coming earlier-than-usual this year on Sunday, March 23.

St. Patrick was the patron Saint of Ireland, credited with ridding that country of the plague of snakes and bringing Christianity and civilization to its citizens. On Monday, St. Patrick's Day, I went online and found St. Patrick's "Breastplate" Prayer. It is longer than the version printed here. But the lines reproduced here were set to lovely Celtic music and narrated, along with delightful pictures of nature. I give you St. Patrick's "Breastplate Prayer" in its shortened form. I recommend that you go online at patricksbreastplateprayer.htm if you want to read the prayer in its entirety. It's worth the search!

The Breastplate Prayer of St. Patrick (shortened version)

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven,

Light of the sun, Splendor of fire, Swiftness of wind, Depth of the sea, Stability of earth, Firmness of 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 hand to guard me,

Afar and anear, Alone or in a multitude. Christ shield me today Against wounding; Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in me.

I arise today

Through the mighty strength

Of the Lord of Creation. - Amen

Holy Week is now in progress. Many of you, no doubt, are participating in Holy Week services at your church. This week we celebrate Maundy Thursday, the day Christ instituted the Lord's Supper, the night he was betrayed and arrested.

The next day we call Good Friday. The thing "good" about it was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world.

But then came Easter on the first day of the week following Good Friday, and Hope was born eternally with the glorious resurrection.

I give you here one of my original poems when I consider what it might have been like with Mary Magdalene at the tomb on that first Easter morning. You might like to read John 20:1-18 on which this is based:

As Mary Magdalene in the Garden
Mary Magdalene went early
Before the dawning light
Had spread abroad the sunshine
To give the darkness flight.
Sadness filled her heart
For lo, her Lord was dead.
He who had promised life and hope
Had died with thorn-crowned head.
Frightened was she when she saw
The sepulchre's stone awry;
Who had taken the Lord's body?
Was it not enough for Him to die?
To Peter and the other disciples
She ran with tears and said:
"They have taken away his body;
Wherever could He be laid?
Peter and others went to find
That Mary's word was true.
No longer was He in the grave,
Only burial clothes there to view.
The disciples left and went home
But Mary lingered there,
Weeping in the dark garden
And mourning her Lord so fair.
Then a voice said "Mary!"
And when He spoke she knew
It was her Lord triumphant!
"Rabboni!" she said, "'Tis you!"
"I have a message for you to bear:
Tell the disciples I now live;
As I told them when I taught,
This message of life you must give!"
Mary in the garden was afraid
When lingering shades of night
Still surrounded the tomb,
But then what a glorious Light;
The very Son of God arose
Victorious from the grave,
And to Mary Magdalene, His servant,
The glorious message He gave.
She ran telling the disciples:
"I have seen the Lord!"
He lives, He conquered death,
We have His holy Word
To tell others that death
No longer over us reigns
The Christ our Lord is risen!
Now my soul forever sings!"
As Mary in the garden
We need not fear shades of night,
Knowing that Life awaits us
In His marvelous life changing Light.
-Ethelene D. Jones

Enjoy an Easter filled with hope, a spring of new beginnings!

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Mar. 20, 2008 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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