St. Patrick (Apostle of Ireland)
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with 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 the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of 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 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 host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose 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 witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
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,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.
O Great Mary,
Pray for us. *
O Mary, the greatest of Marys, *
O Most exalted among women, *
Queen of the Angels, *
Empress of the Heavens, *
Woman replete and overflowing with the grace of the Holy Spirit, *
Blessed and thrice Blessed, *
Mother of eternal glory, *
Mother of the heavenly and earthly Church, *
Mother of love and mercy, *
Mother of the golden effulgence, *
Honour of the sky, *
Harbinger of peace, *
Gate of Heaven, *
Golden Ark, *
Couch of charity and indulgence, *
Shrine of the Divinity, *
Beauty of the Virgins, *
Lady-Chief of the tribes, *
Fountain of the gardens, *
Cleansing of sins, *
Purifying of souls, *
Mother of the orphans, *
Breast of the infants, *
Refuge of the poor, *
Star of the sea, *
Handmaid of God, *
Mother of Christ, *
Abode of the Godhead, *
Graceful as the dove, *
Serene like the moon, *
Resplendent like the sun, *
Thou who dost cancel Eve's disgrace, *
O Renewer of life, *
Perfection of women, *
Head of the Virgins, *
Garden enclosed, *
Fountain ever-refreshing, *
Mother of God, *
Perpetual Virgin, *
Holy Virgin, *
Prudent Virgin, *
Comely Virgin, *
Chaste Virgin, *
Temple of the Living God, *
Royal Throne of the Eternal King, *
Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, *
Virgin of the root of Jesse, *
Cedar of Mount Lebanon, *
Cypress of Mount Sion, *
Crimson rose of the land of Jacob, *
Blooming like the palm, *
Fruitful like the olive, *
Glorious son bearer, *
Light of Nazareth, *
Glory of Jerusalem, *
Beauty of the world, *
Noblest born of the Christian fold, *
O Queen of life, *
O Ladder of Heaven, *
Hear the petition of the poor; spurn not the wounds and the groans of the miserable.
Let our devotion and our sighs be carried through thee to the presence of the Creator, for we are not ourselves worthy of being heard because of our evil deserts.
O powerful Queen of heaven and earth, wipe out our trespasses and our sins.
Cancel our wickedness and depravity.
Raise the fallen, the miserable, and the fettered. Loose the condemned. Repair through thyself the faults of our unworthiness and our iniquity. Bestow upon us through, thyself the brightness and ornaments of good actions and virtues. Appease for us the Judge by thy prayers and thy supplications. Allow us not, for mercy sake, to be carried off from thee among the spoils of our enemies. Allow not our souls to be condemned, but take us to thyself for ever under thy protection.
We, moreover, beseech and pray thee, O Holy Mary, to obtain, through thy great power with thy only Son, that is, with Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that He may guard us from all dangers and temptations. Obtain also for us from the God of all creatures, the forgiveness and remission of all our sins and trespasses; and may we receive from Him further, through thy intercession, the everlasting dwelling in the heavenly kingdom, through all eternity, in the presence of the saints and the saintly virgins of the world: which may we deserve, may we enjoy, in saecula seculorum. Amen.
St. Patrick Bishop, Apostle of Ireland
by Rev. Charles Fell and Bishop Richard Challoner 1750
Patrick, a native of that part of Britain now called Scotland, was born about the middle of the 4th Century. The Romans having left this Island naked and defenseless, it's inhabitants were an easy prey to their troublesome neighbors the Irish, who made several incursions, and carried off considerable booty. Our Saint was sixteen years old, when he fell into the hands of those plunderers; and was carried into Ireland, where the hardships of slavery were to prepare him for the labors of an Apostle; and the experience he had of the spiritual necessities of that people was to inspire him with the charitable design of carrying the Light of the Gospel amongst them. After he had spent five or six years in that Ireland, he found means to make his escape, and return to his own country. He stayed there about four months, and in that time had frequent visions relating to the place of his late captivity, which he took as so many Divine admonitions for endeavoring the conversion of the Island he had left.
Some time afterwards he accompanied his parents to Armorica, which now makes part of France, and is called Britany. Here they were set on by Barbarians, who murdered his father and mother, and sold him to some of the Picts, a savage people, that then inhabited this Island; but recovered his liberty after two months Service. About the Year 400 he was taken a third time by pirates who infested the British Coast. They carried him to Bourdeaux, and sold him.
He did not remain long with his new master, who, pitying his misfortunes, gave him leave to follow his own inclinations. They directed him to religious retirement in the Monastery of Marmoutier, built near Tours by St. Martin, Bishop of that City. Here he received the Monastick Tonsure from the hands of that holy prelate's immediate successor. The pious founder of that House had formed his devout Community by the rules of excellent discipline, and made it a nursery of virtue. Patrick spent three years here and employed that time in the practice of religious and penitential Exercises. St. Martin's Life and Labours for the Conversion of the Heathens were the constant object of his thoughts, and pushed him on to exert himself in the same manner.
With this view he returned to Britain, with a design of preaching the Gospel in Ireland. But meeting with several difficulties in his way, he was obliged to desist for the present, so went back into Gaul; from thence he made the tour of Italy and spent almost seven years in visiting the several monasteries and hermitages in that country and the adjacent Islands. In 410 he was ordained a priest by Senior Bishop of Pisa, and remained three years under the direction of that prelate to improve himself in the knowledge of Church affairs. During that time his concern for the salvation of the Irish gave him much disturbance; he had a great compassion for their misery, and considered them with the tenderness of an Apostle, and therefore could enjoy no repose, while at that distance from what his visions made him look on as his flock.
In the Year 413 he gave a loose to his zeal; and believing himself called to the labors of that mission, went for Ireland. He preached to the natives of that Kingdom; but without any success; which put him upon reflecting on his own conduct, and concluding that the miscarriage of his endeavors proceeded from his want of a vocation and a regular mission, being thus humbled he went to France, to consult the most virtuous and wisest Prelates of that country, upon his inclinations and duty.
At Auxerre, he found St. Amator Bishop of that city, put himself under his direction, and continued with him till he died, which was three years after our Saint's arrival. Amator was succeeded in that See by the famous St. German. Patrick spent the same number of years under him, and copied all the virtues and qualifications of a true Pastor from that admirable Master.
In the Year 410 Honoratus, afterwards Bishop of Arles, founded a Monastery in a small Island then called Lerins, and now known by the Name of that Saint, lying off the Coast of Provence. This House was already grown very famous for the piety and angelical life of it's inhabitants. Our Saint, whose whole aim was perfection, went to this School of Virtue in the Year 421, and spent nine years there under the direction of St. Honoratus, and Maximus his Successor in that charge.
After considerable improvements made in that holy society, he went to Rome, with the advice of St. German Bishop of Auxerre; for he was now resolved to do nothing without his approbation his design in that journey was to receive Celestin's Orders for the Mission of Ireland. But the Pope had just sent Palladius into that Country with the character of Bishop. At this new Apostle's arrival, a party of the Irish were preparing for a descent into the North of our Island, where they were joined by the Picts, and made themselves master of a considerable track of land, which has since bore the name of Scotland, from these new inhabitants, then called Scots. These commotions, and Palladius's ignorance of the language and customs of the people made his expedition to Ireland fail of success. He quitted the country, and went with that new colony into great Britain, where he died soon after.
St. Patrick, not finding the Pope disposed to employ him as he wished and desired, went back to Auxerre. In the Year 431 the news of Palladia's Death reached that place; upon which St. German sent him to Rome a second time with letters of recommendation to the same Pope who gave him a very good reception, and put him in possession of what had so long been his only wish. He consecrated him, and gave him commission to preach the Gospel in Ireland; but died before the Saint had received his full instructions, or could be provided with proper companions in this evangelical work.
Sixtus III was raised to the Sea of Rome in 432, and finished what his predecessor's death had left imperfect. Patrick took Auxerre in his way to the scene of his Apostolical labors and spent some days there in receiving Saint German's directions for his conduct. He landed first in Great Britain; and after converting several of the inhabitants of Cornwall, and Cambria, or Wales, pursued his journey to Ireland; where he arrived toward the close of 432, and began his mission in Leinster; and before that year was out, had the satisfaction of gaining several in that Province. When he had made a considerable harvest there, he left a sufficient number of those that came with him from Rome, to finish what he had so happily begun, and followed the dictates of his zeal, which carried him to Ulster; where his endeavors met with an equal success. One of the new converts there devoted a considerable part of his substance to religious uses, which enabled our Saint to build a Monastery near Down, the head town of the County of that name. The House was called Sabal-Pardrigh, i.e. St. Patrick's Grange, and the town itself is still called Down-Patrick.
As soon as that religious Retreat was built, our Saint filled it with such as were desposed to quit the World, when they took their leave of paganism which alone may let us see what progress religion made in that country, when we remember, how few, even good Christians, think themselves obliged to follow what we call Evangelical Counsels. The Almighty confirmed his ministry, and encouraged his labors by the success that attended them and the miracles performed by his hands. Those, who had assisted him in this great and glorious work, had as yet no other character but that of laborers under our Saint. But finding the flock increase in an extraordinary manner, he was obliged to create new pastors for their use; and therefore ordained several priests and bishops in different parts of that Island. The ardor with which the Irish attended to their instructions was a great encouragement to the zeal of those holy preachers. God worked so powerfully in the hearts of those people, that they demolished the temple of their idols, and all remains of pagan superstition with the utmost alacrity, and raised Churches to the true God in their room.
When he left Ulster, he carried the Light of the Gospel into the Province of Connaught, and the County of Meath; and, left no corner of the whole Island unvisited. The fatigues of so laborious and difficult a mission might seem a sufficient mortification. The badness of the roads the great variety of bad weather, and the grossness and stupidity of those he had to deal with gave him trouble enough to ground an excuse for not practicing austerities on himself. But our Saint was not tender of his own person; he joined rigorous fasts, and other penitential severities to his Apostolical labors.
In 444, He made a journey to Rome, to give an Account of his endeavors and success, and communicated his joy to St. Leo, who then filled St. Peter's Chair, and was engaged by his Station in the Church to a concern for the whole Christian World. At his return he made some stay in the West of Britain, where he preached; and waited for a fresh supply of Bishops, who joined him, and accompanied him to Ireland. Our Saint disposed of them in the Provinces of Leinster, Connaught, and Meath, and then went to Ulster; where he founded the Metropolitan See of Armagh.
The success that attended his labors was so prodigious that he soon wanted more persons to carry on the work in which God had engaged him. With this view he crossed into Britain. He found that Island miserably corrupted by Pelaginism, and Arianism, but recovered great numbers of his countrymen from those pestilent heresies. He got together several men of great learning and piety, whom he carried over with him, formed them to the Mission of Ireland, consecrated thirty of them Bishops, and disposed of most of them in the adjacent Islands, and the Western parts of Britain. The inhabitants of the Province of Munster gave him the most employment; for we are told he spent seven Years in that part of Ireland only. In the Year 455 he made another journey to Rome; where he gained the Pope's confirmation of the Metropolitan Church he had erected; and was afterwards favored with the Pallium, and the Title of Apostolical Legate in Ireland, which title descended to his Successors. At his return, he dedicated the Cathedral of Armagh, and convened a Council of Bishops to consider of proper regulations for the Church of Ireland.
St. Pairick's strength was now quite exhausted by his continual labors, and he no longer was able to travel as he had done. From the Year 456 he lead a more sedentary life, sometimes at Armagh, and sometime at his Monastery of Sabal. Though his Weakness confined him to a narrow compass, he knew not what it was to be idle. He preached still every day, held councils once a Year, and governed his religious with great exactness.
The natives of Ireland not only owe their Christianity, but even their recovery from ignorance and barbarity to our Saint. When he came amongst them, they were strangers to learning of all sorts; had not the least notion of either reading or writing; and knew no other way of preserving the memory of their Prince's actions, the genealogy of their chief families, or the boundaries of their respective possessions, but by rude and uncultivated rhymes,which had no poetry or harmony. St. Patrick therefore introduced the use of letters amongst them, and laid the first foundations of humanity as well as religion in that Island. Full of merit, and pleased with the success of his ministry, he concluded his labours and his life together about the Year 460.
He was buried at Down; and his Sanctity manifested by a great number of miracles performed in favor of such as recommended themselves to his Intercession. The English were masters of Ireland in 1185, when our Saint's relics were found ; and in the following year proposed to public veneration by a solemn translation of them to Trinity Church in Down, which afterwards bore the Name of our Saint. That Church and St. Patrick's shrine felt the rage of the Reformation, and were demolished by the Lord Grey, Lord Deputy of Ireland, under King Henry VIII. The seventeenth of March is kept in Honor of this Saint, and is supposed to be the day of his Death.
Prayer:O God, Who didst deign to send blessed Patrick, Thy Confessor and Bishop, to preach Thy glory to the nations; grant, through his merits and intercession, that what Thou commandest us to do, we may by Thy mercy be able to accomplish. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Hymn: St. Patrick's Day.
All praise to Saint Patrick, who brought to our mountains
The gift of God's faith, the sweet light of His love!
All praise to the shepherd who showed us the fountains
That rise in the heart of the Savior above!
For hundreds of years, in smiles and in tears,
Our Saint has been with us, our shield and our stay;
All else may have gone, Saint Patrick alone,
He hath been to us light when earth's lights were all set,
For the glories of Faith they can never decay;
And the best of our glories is bright with us yet,
In the faith and the feast of Saint Patrick's Day.
There is not a Saint in the bright courts of heaven;
More faithful than he to the land of his choice;
Oh, well may the nation to whom he was given,
In the feast of their sire and apostle rejoice!
In glory above, true to his love,
He keeps the false faith from his children away:
The dark false faith, that is worse than death,
Oh! he drives it far off from the green sunny shore,
Like the reptiles which fled from his curse in dismay;
And Erin, when error's proud triumph is o'er,
Will still be found keeping Saint Patrick's Day.
Then what shall we do for thee, heaven-sent Father?
What shall the proof of our loyalty be?
By all that is dear to our hearts, we would rather
Be martyred, sweet Saint! than bring shame upon thee!
But oh! he will take the promise we make,
So to live that our lives by God's help may display
The light that he bore to Erin's shore:
Yes, Father of Ireland! no child wilt thou own,
Whose life is not lighted by grace on its way;
For they are true Irish, oh yes! they alone,
Whose hearts are all true on Saint Patrick's Day.
The Rock of Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland:
Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion
of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th Century.
The Destiny of the Irish Race
Michael O' Connor, Bishop.
That God knows and governs all things--that whatever happens, is either done or permitted by Him, and that He proposes to Himself wise and beneficent ends in all He does or permits--are truths which lie at the foundation of all religion. The wicked may contemn His commands, but they can not withdraw themselves from the reach of His power. While their wickedness is entirely their own, God makes them, however unwilling or unconscious, instruments to work out His ends.
It is thus that individuals, as well as nations, have each a peculiar destiny. Not that there is a blind fate, such as Pagans imagined; but that an all-seeing, and all-governing God proposes to Himself certain objects which He is determined to attain, despite the perversity of man. Sometimes manifest, sometimes hidden, sometimes far-reaching, sometimes limited--the designs of God are always worthy of their Author, always conducive to His glory and the salvation of men.
It is in the light of these principles, that I undertake an investigation of the divine purposes regarding the Irish race. These purposes seem to me no longer a matter of vague speculation; they are written in unmistakable characters in the developments of events. The history of the Irish race is in many respects peculiar. Few nations received the faith so readily, and no other preserved it amidst similar struggles. St. Patrick first announced the Gospel at Tara to the assembled princes of the realm. He received permission to preach it unmolested, throughout the length and breadth of the land. By his indomitable zeal and heroic virtue, he succeeded in so effectually winning the natives that at his death few pagans remained in Ireland.
Not a drop of blood was shed among the primitive Irish apostles and their neophytes. Theirs was the martyrdom of exalted virtue and persevering self-sacrifice. Nowhere else did the Gospel take root so quickly and so firmly or produce fruit so immediate and abundant. Catholic Ireland soon became the home of the saints and sages of Christendom. To many of the nations of the continent her apostles went forth, charged with the embassy of eternal truth. In every realm of Europe, her children established sanctuaries of piety and learning; and to her hospitable shores the natives of other lands flocked to receive education, and even support from her gratuitous bounty. Abodes of sanctity dotted her hills and valleys; and thus were laid deep the foundations of that strong attachment to the faith, which, later, was to be exposed to the most severe assaults.
For the day of trial came at last. Reposing in peace under the shadow of the Gospel, the barbaric invasion, that swept before it every vestige of learning and religion in many parts of Europe, finally reached the shores of Erin. She was the only country that repelled the proud invader. But she did this at the cost of her life's blood. For two centuries the Dane trampled her sons under foot. The legends of his cruelties yet re-echo in the national traditions. But the Irish race at last arose in its might, and drove the barbarian from its shores. The churches of the country had been pillaged, its monasteries plundered, its institutions of learning destroyed, everything that the sword could smite, or fire consume, had perished; but Erin came out of the ordeal preserving her own virginal integrity, and displaying on her bosom the jewel priced above all else--her glorious Faith.
Not long was she to enjoy her dearly-bought peace. Availing himself of the discords naturally arising from the disorganized state of society, the Saxon succeeded in gaining a foothold on her soil. Craftily fanning the national feuds, the new invader kept possession and gained strength until his rule became at last almost as severe a calamity as had been the oppression of the Dane.
To hatred, which is generally greater in the oppressor than in the oppressed, were added, in time, religious fanaticism, and its greedy associate, the desire of plunder. The Irishman was hunted in his own country, as if he were a wild beast. The property of Catholics was confiscated; and most stringent laws were enacted to prevent its renewed acquisition. Priests, wherever found, were put to death, and the severest penalties were inflicted on those who harbored the anointed ministers of Christ. Extermination by fire and sword was ordered, in so many words, and was attempted. When this failed, a system of penal laws was established, which later were only partially abandoned in order to give place to a system of proselytism, which appealed by bribes to the basest instincts of oppressed and downtrodden men.
Yet neither confiscation of property, nor famine, nor disgrace, nor death in its most hideous forms, could make the Irish people waver in that faith which their forefathers received from St. Patrick. There were, of course, from time to time, and there are still, a few exceptions. But as a general rule the places that could not be procured or retained except by apostasy from the faith, were heroically resigned. The rich allowed their property to be torn from them, and willingly became poor for Christ; the poor bore hunger and nakedness, want and cold, and though every earthly good was arrayed temptingly before them they scorned to purchase comfort at the price of apostasy. During the four years from 1846 to 1850, nearly two millions either perished from hunger and its attendant pestilence, or were forced to leave their native land to escape both. In the midst of the dead and dying, proselytizers showed themselves everywhere well provided with food and money, and Bibles, and every one of the sufferers felt and was made to feel that hunger and sickness would come to an end as soon as he was willing to barter his faith for bread. Yet the heroic people stood fast under the dreadful temptation. They died by the roadsides, or they fled to foreign shores, but they clung to their faith, and unswervingly refused to eat the bread of apostasy.
It would, however, be not only unfounded to flatter ourselves that this stability in the faith is the result of anything peculiar in the Irish nature, but it would be, I may say, a blasphemy to assert it. God alone can preserve anyone in the paths of truth and virtue; how much more must we attribute to Him the fidelity of a whole race, under the trying circumstances here enumerated.
Such grace may have been given, as many believe, in reward of the readiness and the fulness with which your ancestors first received the faith of the Gospel, and it is hoped that God will to the end grant the same grace of fidelity to their descendants. St. Patrick is said to have asked this favor from God for the nation which so readily corresponded to His call. This prayer has been heard, or at least this grace has been granted, up to the present. When the sons of Ireland on this day return in thought to the homes of their fathers, they may indeed look back upon a land inferior to many, in the elements of material greatness. They may behold her castles and rich domains in the possession of the stranger. They may view the masses of their race with scarcely a foothold in the land of their fathers, liable to be ejected from the farm, and driven out on the public highways, and from the highways into the crowded town, and from the hovels of the crowded town into the poorhouse, and even at the poorhouse denied the right of admission. But amidst all the miseries of those who yet dwell in the old land, in spite of the wiles of unscrupulous governments, and heartless and tyrannical landlords, and hypocritical proselytizers, in spite of open violence and covert bribes, their undying attachment to the faith remains unaltered, unshaken, a monument of national virtue more honorable than any which wealth or power could erect, or flattery devise.
But all this is a grace, a great grace of God. It reveals a purpose of heaven more bountiful in regard to this people, than if he had raised them to the highest place in material power amongst the nations of the earth. Temporal prosperity, in its various forms, though a favor from God, is not His most precious blessing. He Himself selected the way of the Cross. In abjection and suffering He came into the world, He lived in it despised and persecuted, He died amidst excruciating torments. To those whom He loves in a special manner, He says: "Can you drink the chalice which I am to drink, and be baptized with the baptism with which I shall be baptized," and when they reply: "they can," the promise that this shall be fulfilled, His leading them to follow Him in the way of the Cross, His calling them to suffer for righteousness is the best pledge of His greatest love.
This grace He has given to Ireland. Her children have received and accepted the call; they have reaped the reward. Indeed, I have found the opinion entertained by many clergymen of extensive experience, that there is not probably another people on this earth of whom more in proportion to their number leave this world with well grounded hopes of a happy eternity. They do not, it is true, display a boastful assurance, that they are about to ascend at once into heaven. But vast masses serve God with humble fidelity in life, and, at death, acknowledging and sorry for their sins, doing all they can to comply with his requirements, they throw themselves, with resignation to His will, into the arms of His Mercy.
Were nothing else apparent in the purposes of God, we might stop here. We would find a great and worthy object for all that Ireland has suffered, and cause to thank the Almighty Ruler for having given her the grace to suffer in union with and for the sake of His Son. But God's graces are often given for ulterior purposes, and it may be asked whether the extraordinary preservation of this nation's faith has not another object in His wise and merciful councils. It appears to me that this is now clear in the case of Ireland. But to understand it properly, we must reflect more closely on her connection with England, and on the condition of this latter country.
In the sixteenth century England abandoned the faith to which she had adhered for a thousand years. Her apostasy, though consummated by degrees, may be said to have become at last complete. The blood of her best sons flowed at Tyburn. The priests that were not of the number were banished, or forced to seek safety in hiding places. The same price was put on the head of a priest as on that of a wolf. The property of Catholics was confiscated, their children were taken from them, and educated in the religion of the establishment. These and analogous measures produced their effect at last. Were it not for these things, a great part of the nation, if not a majority, would be Catholic today. Though they desired no share in the plunder of the Church, and had no fancy for the new theories of the Reformers, they were weak enough to yield to a pressure, under which compromise first and then apostasy afforded the only means of escaping confiscation and the loss of every social advantage, frequently the only means of escaping death. The old faith stamped, indeed, its mark on the institutions of the kingdom in a manner that could not be blotted out. It left its memorials everywhere throughout the land. The noble universities, the gorgeous cathedrals, and the splendid ruins scattered over the surface of the country are witnesses of its departed power, but, it is itself effectually blotted out from the hearts of the people.
Though the most noble kings and princes of the land had delighted in honoring Catholicity, though England had sent her Apostles and her Saints into many a clime, though her hills and valleys had re-echoed for centuries with the sweet song of Catholic devotion, her people now know nothing more hateful than the faith, under the auspices of which their fathers were civilized. They nickname it "Popery" and the name expresses that which is to them most hateful.
Yet this England, this Catholic-hating England, has become one of the greatest nations of the earth in the material order. Her fleets are mirrored in every sea, her banner floats on every continent. It has been truly said that the sound of her drums, calling her soldiers from slumber, goes before and greets the rising sun in its circuit around the globe. But what is most remarkable, and certainly not without some great purpose in the order of divine Providence, England has become in our day the great hive from which colonies go out to people islands and continents in distant parts of the world, lands which were before vast wastes, tenanted only by the wild beast, or by the savage scarcely less ferocious. Indeed, she is the only nation in our day that seems to have received such a mission.
And is it then to an apostate nation exclusively that God has given the mission to fill up this waste? Is it a corrupted faith only which is to be borne to these savage nations, and to be planted in those vast regions which God has made known to civilized man in these latter days? Were this the case, we might tremble, though we should adore it as one of the inscrutable judgments of God, dealing with nations in His great wrath. But is such the fact! It would indeed be the fact were it not for faithful Ireland. But united as England is with Ireland, the result is quite otherwise. The very ambition and desire of gain which impel England to extend her power and plant her colonies in the most distant countries of the globe, become the instruments for carrying also the undying faith of Ireland to the regions which England has conquered.
Saul went to seek Samuel, thinking only of finding his father's asses. God was sending him to be anointed king over his people. England sends her ships all over the world, thinking only of markets for the produce of her forges and her looms. God is sending her that she may spread everywhere the faith of the Irish people.
Under the "Union Jack," on which the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew are blended together--but so blended as to prevent any Christian symbol being recognized--a fit emblem of the effect of the union of jarring sects, each professing to proclaim Christianity, but between them, only obscuring and obstructing it, the Irishman too is borne to the distant colony. He goes probably before the mast, or in the forecastle, but he bears with him the true faith, and when he lands he hastens to raise its symbol. This may be first over a rude chapel. But it is a signal to other way-farers, and they gather under its shade to offer up the sacred mysteries. As soon as his means permit, even before he can build a good dwelling for himself, he takes care that the house of God be, in every possible degree, worthy of its sacred character. And so the Church creeps on and grows, and the regions that sat in darkness are now blessed by the offering of the adorable sacrifice and the announcement of the true faith.
The Irishman, generally speaking, did not leave home through ambition, or for conquest. He departed with sorrow from the shade of that hawthorn around which the dearest memories of childhood clustered. He would have remained contented with the humble lot of his father, had he been allowed to dwell there in peace. But the bailiff came and, to make wider pastures for sheep and bullocks, his humble cottage was leveled, and he himself sent to wander through the world in search of a home. But in his wanderings he carries his faith with him, and he becomes the means of spreading everywhere the Church of God.
It is thus that the tempest which seems but to destroy the flower, catches up its seeds and scatters them far and near, and these seeds produce other flowers as beautiful as that from which they were torn, so that some fair spot of the prairie, when despoiled of its loveliness, but affords the means of covering the vast expanse with new and variegated beauties. It is thus that famine, and the pestilence, and the inhuman eviction of Irish landlords have spread the faith of Christ far and near, and planted it in new colonies, which when they shall have grown out of their tutelage, will look back to the departed power of England and the undying faith of Ireland as, in the hands of Providence, the combined causes of their greatness and their orthodoxy. Macaulay's traveler from New Zealand, who will, on some future day, from a broken arch of London Bridge, take a sketch of the ruins of St. Paul's, may be some Irish O' or Mac on a pilgrimage to the Eternal City, who passes that way--having first landed on the shores from which his ancestors were driven by the crowbar-brigade, and visited with reverence the hallowed graves, under whose humble sod lie the bones of his martyred forefathers.
It is thus that the Catholic faith is being planted in the British colonies of North America; it is thus it is carried to India, and to Australia and to the Islands of the South Sea. There are laid the foundations of flourishing churches, which promise at no distant day to renew, and even to surpass the work done by Ireland in the palmiest days of faith, when her sons planted the cross, and caused Christ to be adored, as He wished to be adored, in the most distant regions of the earth.
The magnitude of this work is not to be measured even by the importance of these transplanted churches at the present moment. The countries to which I have alluded are but in their infancy. We can see on this continent the rapid strides of such infant colonies. Within three-quarters of a century this country has advanced in population from three to over fifty millions, and, in most other elements of greatness, in still greater proportion. If it continue to increase, as it has done regularly from the beginning, at the end of this century, or soon after, it will have a population of over one hundred millions, that is, as great as is now the population of France and Spain, and Italy, arid Great Britain combined. If this is expected in this country in twenty years, what will the case be in one or two hundred, in this and so many others similarly situated?
Australia starts with all the advantages of this country, and some peculiar to itself, and is following it with giant strides. It may overtake it before long, if not outstrip it. But the position of Catholicity there is very different from what it was at the commencement, or even at an advanced period in the United States. The Catholics in Australia occupy a position of practical social equality with others. They will grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength of their adopted country, and have their fair share in its importance.
England herself, from which the Catholic name was thought to have been almost blotted out, has been deeply affected by this exodus of Irish Catholics. In her cities and towns, and hamlets, the cross has been raised from the dust. At the side of the ancient monuments, which remind England of her apostasy, humble spires rise in every part of the land, and tell that nation, that the Faith which they thought destroyed, still lives, and is ready to admit them again to its wonted blessings. They stand there, and betoken the unity and stability of that faith of which they are the symbols--of that faith which reclaimed the fathers of that people from barbarism, and continued to be the faith of the land for a thousand years, and is yet a faith, and the only faith, in which men of every tongue and every clime are united. The English people see its unity and stability, while they are forced to witness the ever shifting and clashing forms of the religion that was substituted for it. For in the name of the one Christ, and the one Bible, altar is everywhere erected against altar, pulpit thunders against pulpit, the teaching of today is contradicted in the same pulpit on the morrow, yet each one proclaims his own device as the plain teaching of Scripture.
This confronting of unity with confusion, of steady adherence to truth with the ever-varying shifts of error, of the mild but bright glory of an everlasting Church with the frivolities of the proudest inventions of men, is a grace, and a great grace which God grants. It is a grace for the use of which that people will give a strict account. And, oh, may that use be, that they will make it fructify to their salvation. For while we appreciate the blessings granted to ourselves, we have no other feeling in their regard than a wish that they too may share in these blessings, and be like unto us in everything.
But whether well used or abused, whether unto the ruin or salvation of many in that country, this grace is given chiefly through the Irish emigration. I am not unaware of, nor do I undervalue the importance of the faithful remnant that has in England steadfastly continued in the faith once delivered to the Saints, nor of the accessions made to their number by the conversion of so many noble souls, to whom God gave light and strength to overcome.
It is the Irish emigration that has chiefly supplied the vast throng of worshipers at English altars, that has made churches and schools spring up, and that has finally called for the restoration of a numerous hierarchy. As if to mark this fact and point out the great part that Ireland had in restoring Catholic life to England, God has so arranged it that the first head and brightest ornament of that new hierarchy should be the son of Irish emigrants--his Eminence, the late gifted and illustrious Cardinal Wiseman.
And even in these United States, let people say what they please, has not the Irish race held the first place in planting the cross throughout the length and breadth of the land? I know and acknowledge the important services rendered to Catholicity in the United States by the sons of other foreign races. God has sent us many illustrious men from France, Belgium, and Italy, who have occupied the foremost ranks in the ministry, whose heroic virtues and zealous works are even now as beacon-lights to all who labor for God's glory. Germany has given us many of her hardy sons to labor with the steadfastness of their countrymen in building up the walls of the Sanctuary. These are, indeed, a most important element, and are destined to become more important every day. They may yet exercise a greater influence on the destiny of the Church in this country than the Irish race. But so far, I think no one will claim that they can be compared in numbers with the sons of Erin; or that they equal, in their labors, the results the latter have attained. Of the converts in this country, we may say the same thing as of those in England.
Giving every man his due--for there is not, (and should not be,) any room here for jealousy--I think it will be admitted that it is above all others to Irishmen and to their children that the spread of Catholicity is due in this land. Far and near, no matter who ministers at the Catholic altar, (though there, too, the sons of Ireland have done their share), in the body of the church you will find that Erin's children constitute the bulk, and, in many cases the whole of the congregation. Their hard-earned dollars were foremost in supplying means to buy the lot and erect the Catholic churches in city or country-side. The priest or missionary, no matter what his own nationality, was nowhere more confident of finding help and support than among the Irish emigrants or their children. Wherever a railway or a canal, or any other hive of industry invited their sturdy labor, the cross soon sprung up to bear witness to their generosity and their faith.
Even the old Maryland colony, though consisting chiefly of English Catholics, seeking here a freedom of conscience denied them at home, had its Irish elements, and that not the least noble in deeds, nor the least conspicuous in virtue. When, at the period of the revolution, the noblest men of this land stood together, shoulder to shoulder, and issued that Declaration of Independence, to which they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors, it was a Catholic of the Irish race who affixed his signature for Maryland. In doing this, he pledged an honor as pure, and a life as precious as any of the rest, but he staked a fortune equal to, if not greater, than that of all the others put together. When he signed his name, some one standing by, said: "There go some millions!" Another remarked: "There are many Carrolls; he will not be known;" he overheard the remark, and to avoid all misconception, boldly wrote down in full: "Charles Carroll Of Carroll-Ton."
Yet, this noble scion of the Irish race, for so many years the pride and ornament of his native state, while fulfilling all the duties of an illustrious citizen, was not ashamed of the race from which he sprung. Instead of selecting amongst French villes or English parks or towns a name for his princely estate, he stamped on it a title with the good old Celtic ring. He called it after a property of one of his Irish ancestors, Doughragan Manor, thereby instructing his posterity and his countrymen that if they felt any pride in his name they must associate Charles Carroll of Carrollton with a race which so many affect to despise.
Let all the sons, yea, the sons of the sons of Ireland, be like to him,--faithful to their duties as citizens, ready to sacrifice their all for their country, whether that all be little, or as great as was his vast wealth; just, and respectful, and charitable to men of all races and creeds, not anxious either to conceal or obtrude their own, but determined, in a word, faithfully to discharge all their civil and Christian duties. Let them be earnest in elevating the one by greater fidelity to the other.
It was also one of the Maryland stock--but of this same Irish race-- another Carroll--who was chosen the first bishop and founder of the hierarchy of the young American Church; as if Providence here, too, wished to indicate from which race the chief strength of Catholicity was to be derived in this land.
Would it be overstraining matters to say that a hint of this was also given by Providence in the Irish name of the future Metropolitan See of the United States--the first in time, and always to be the first in dignity. The word "Baltimore" is an Irish word, and, through the founder of the colony, was derived from an Irish hamlet, looking, as it were, from the extreme south-west coast of Ireland, over the waters of the Atlantic, to this continent for the full realization of its name. The word in the Irish language means "the town of the great house" and it was beyond the Atlantic that Baltimore, in becoming the chief see of a great church, has truly become "the town of the great house;" for the church or house at the head of which it stands, doubtless extends over a wider surface than any other church or churches amongst which any one bishop holds pre-eminence, excepting only the Church governed by the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom is committed the care of all the sheep and lambs of God's fold, that is, the whole of Christ's Church.
In names which God has given, or permitted to be given, He has frequently foreshadowed the destinies of individuals and races. Would it be superstitious to suppose that in the Irish name of this American ecclesiastical metropolis--the only important city in this country that has an Irish name--Providence pointed, on the one hand, to its future position in the Christian hierarchy, and on the other to the character of the chief portion of the family of that house or church?
But, be that as it may, it was a scion of the Irish race who was the founder of the new American hierarchy. For some time he held the crozier alone. The whole country was his diocese. But he did not depart until he saw suffragans around him forming a regular hierarchy, that was destined to multiply and carry everywhere, mainly on Irish shoulders, the ark that would spread blessings throughout the land.
The work that has been thus commenced is no doubt destined to prosper. It is not without a motive that in this country the lines are drawn, and the foundations laid by Providence for a noble church. Its beginnings (for we may say it is yet in its infancy) bear many of the marks of the process by which the work was effected. It is destined to grow, and God grant it may grow, particularly in the mild beauty of Christian virtue, and win by love the homage of all the children of the land, that all may receive through it the graces of heaven, and even their earthly prosperity be consolidated thereby, and become the means of acquiring still higher blessings.
But whatever be said of the United States, the Irish race is certainly almost alone in the work of diffusing Catholicity among the other English speaking nations of the globe. The sufferings of Ireland were, therefore, the means, and evidently intended by God as such, to preserve her in the faith, to give her its rewards in a high degree; and to make her and her sons instruments in spreading the winged seed of the faith throughout the entire world. This, therefore, is what I claim to be, in the counsels of God, the destiny of the Irish race.
In preserving the faith of the Irish race, God has provided a leaven of truth for the masses. By the side of systems of religion which men have devised, stands the everlasting Church, which, as Macaulay remarked, is the only connecting link between the civilization of the ancient and modern worlds,--the Church which taught the name of Christ to every nation that knows Him, even to those who afterwards fell away from the fulness of truth--the Church which Augustine brought to England, and Patrick to Ireland--the Church that raised the dignity of the poor, and humbled the pride of the mighty, placing all on the level of the Gospel--the Church that claims no new inventions, but is itself an invention of God, infinitely surpassing all inventions of man, holding out nothing to the nineteenth, which it did not present to the first, to the tenth, and to every other century, but presenting to all the faith and institutions of God, able to save all, to elevate all, to bring all into one fold, that all may be united in one happiness in Heaven.
Is not this great result worth all the sufferings which Ireland has endured? The ways of God appear often circuitous. But in their circuitous course they are everywhere fraught with blessings. The children of Ireland suffered, yet, even in their sufferings, they were blessed--yea, blessed with the benediction which Christ Himself pronounced upon those who suffer persecution for justice's sake; for in their trials they have redeemed their own souls. Doubly blessed, because they preserved the ark of God, and carried it through the waters of tribulation to bless and enlighten more amply unborn and numerous generations.
What earthly mission, no matter how sublime, can be compared to this? What is even the spreading of civilization with its highest privileges, compared to the spreading of the saving institutions of the Gospel? Even in this world, virtue is esteemed as infinitely superior to mere physical forces. The humble peasant who does God's will, whose soul is adorned with His grace, is an object of complacency and love to his Maker, whilst He turns in disgust and horror from the proud philosopher who can control the hidden powers of nature, and make them subservient to his will, but does not make his own will conform to the great law that should govern it--the sovereign will of God. When earth, and all that is earthly shall have passed away, the proudest human achievements will be seen to have been nothing, while all those who have caused God's name to be glorified, shall shine as bright stars through the endless ages of eternity!
O, my dearly beloved! on this day, when the Church calls upon you to commemorate the heroic virtues and the glorious deeds of your great apostle, St. Patrick, I would fain say to every son of Ireland--to every one in whose veins Irish blood flows--no matter where he himself may have been born, live worthy of your ancestry, an ancestry which is a noble one, noble in that which is the noblest thing man can rejoice in-- virtue and fidelity to God. Yourselves are called in a special manner to do honor to your faith in spreading it among the greatest nations of the earth. Be faithful to your calling. Show yourselves worthy sons of the martyred dead. Make sure, like them, whatever else you fail in, not to fail in transmitting the faith to those entrusted to your charge--never exposing it to danger, or sacrificing it for any base worldly or selfish gains. Guard well, if need be, with your very lives that precious pearl of the faith of Christ; and furthermore, spare no effort that you and those committed to your care, grow also in every virtue. Nay, endeavor so to live, that all men may learn to love the faith which is the spring of your actions, and thus glorify and love that God, who is the "Author and Finisher of your Faith."
Hymn of Praise to St. Patrick
Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear Saint of our isle!Click here for 2nd webpage devoted to St. Patrick
On us, thy poor children, bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.
Hail, glorious Saint Patrick! thy words were once strong
Against Satan's wiles and a heretic throng;
Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art--
Oh, come to our aid, in our battle take part.
In the war against sin, in the fight for the Faith,
Dear Saint, may thy children resist to the death;
May their strength be in meekness, in penance and prayer,
Their banner the Cross, which they glory to bear.
Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;
And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,
Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.
Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,
Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth; And our hearts shall yet burn, wheresoever we roam,
For God and Saint Patrick and our native home.