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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
It is a song of praise to God for all God is and does. And well it should be.
But to understand the depth of praise we need to start with ourselves. To look inside. To look inside deeply. To see deeply. Only then, when we see ourselves deeply, can we understand the depth of praise expressed in these words.
When we look deeply we can begin to see. The uncertainty about life that requires a pilot. The weakness of spirit that requires upholding. The straying from who we truly are that requires a guide. The blindness to the pain of others that requires new eyes. The deafness to the cries of the oppressed that requires new ears. The silence in the face of injustice that requires a new mouth. The danger to life and love we help create that requires a guard. The foolishness of our egos that requires protection. All the ways we are lost that require saving from that which seduces and tempts us, from those who wish us ill.
This kind of looking within is not easy. It means seeing things in ourselves we would rather not see. It inevitably leads to struggle and perhaps even suffering.
But this kind of looking is the only way to new life. It is the dying that makes resurrection possible.
We cannot do it – not even think about doing it – unless we have faith. Faith that when we arise today and every day we will be upheld by the strength, might and wisdom of God. And that in all we are about God’s eye, ear, mouth, hand and shield will offer us whatever it is we need to face whatever it is we see.
And then through the grace and mercy of God these words of praise touch the depth of our being and we know life that is both abundant and full.
Offered by Jeff Jones, pastor, writer, follower of Jesus.
2 thoughts on “Lent 2016, Week Five: Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”
Thank you, Jeff–this is so meaningful to me–the surrender–the dying– the faith to know that there is nothing but Love and Mercy on the other side!
btw I quoted from your book “Facing Decline, Finding Hope” at our annual meeting at St. John’s yesterday. Thank you–again!
Thanks, Jeff. The work to become who we truly are, our most authentic self, is difficult. You are right – without faith it would be impossible to face our own shortcomings. At least it would be for me…peace, Johnna