St Patrick was a man of the book. Not only did Patrick write his own spiritual reflection but he brought to the people of Ireland ‘the book containing the Good News’. Having studied the Scriptures in France, Patrick used the Bible as his means of evangelisation. He opened up God’s living word for the people, sharing a message of hope, holding fast to the sacred gift which is eternal life with God.
It was because of Patrick’s reverence for the word of God that the early Church in this land soon put the Scriptures to the fore of spiritual life in Ireland. The great monastic schools and houses, including Clonard, Kells and Durrow in this Diocese of Meath, taught the Scriptures and created manuscripts which remained for centuries. The life of the Christian monks was devoted to reflecting on the word of God. It is little wonder that, when these monasteries began their monastic outreach across Europe, it was with the Scriptures that they taught the faith. Their libraries, rich in Biblical reflection, became a treasury of Christian wisdom and artistry throughout continental Europe. Love for God’s word was ingrained in the learning which they shared amidst the darkness and turmoil all around them.
Yet Patrick knew that the Scriptures are not just a source of learning; they are an invitation to pray. It was prayer that sustained him in his mission, despite the hardships and opposition at times he faced. By the example he gave and the testimony of his writings, Patrick taught the people to make time for prayer and space for God each day. Even still today, the simplicity and depth of Patrick’s prayer has crossed the centuries and can lead us to a daily reflection on God’s living word.
May the Strength of God pilot us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil ones.
Against temptations of the world
May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.