201. Don’t Miss Out on the True Blessings of Saint Patrick’s Day!

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Nothing wrong with enjoying some green beer, but there’s a lot more to Saint Patrick’s Day than the secular culture would have you realize. If you want a little background on one of the world’s most famous saints, click here.

I think the famous prayer known as Saint Patrick’s Breastplate provides a beautiful window into his spirituality. Here’s a section of it (for the full prayer click here):

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 when I arise…

Patrick grasped an essential truth about the mystery of the Incarnation: the Christ that is “with me, before me, behind me, in me …” etc. is not a ghost or a phantom. He’s an incarnational presence that communicates his mystery to me through the “schtuff” of the physical world (it’s called the sacramentality of the world). When the second person of the Trinity entered creation, every atom, every molecule of the physical world was in some way touched by divine life.

This does not mean that creation is thereby divine (we are not pantheists!). Rather, it means as Pope Francis observes, that “the mystery of Christ is at work in a hidden manner in the natural world as a whole” (Laudato Si 99). As a result, for those with eyes to see, “everything is, as it were, a caress of God” (LS 84).

As a world traveler, I can say this with confidence: there is nowhere on earth quite like Saint Patrick’s homeland in which to experience this “caress of God.” This is why I’m headed back to Ireland this summer, and I’m inviting you to join me!

Ireland is set to host Pope Francis in 2018 for the World Meeting of Families, and I have been invited by the Catholic Church in Ireland to till the soil for that gathering by offering a series of lectures around the country in July of 2017. So we decided to open it up to others and make a pilgrimage of it! You can watch a little video about it below…

A great many Catholics in North America, myself included, can trace their Catholic heritage to the faith of Saint Patrick and the missionaries that come from Ireland. I’m very blessed to be able to give something back this summer. Join us from July 5-14, 2017, as we not only plant the seeds of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in Ireland, but follow in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid, Our Lady of Knock, and experience the “caress of God” through the gloriously beautiful countryside and coast of ancient land of “Ire”!

Learn more here. Place your deposit by March 31 and receive $100 off registration!

Question: What strikes you most about St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer? Please share it on Facebook and Twitter.

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