Friday 21st September 2018

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

St. Patrick’s Answer To The Powers Of Hell — Then And Now

July 3, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By JAMES MONTI

Many of us, I’m sure, are still reeling from the evil outcome of the recent vote in Ireland that by overthrowing the legal protection of the unborn will effectively expose to a sentence of death countless innocent Irish children. Sixteen centuries ago, Ireland was likewise in the shadow of death, the nation under the sway of pagan Druids. But on a spring evening in Slane, in Ireland’s County Meath, a fire was lit on a hilltop to begin the Easter Vigil that night, lit by “a man sent from God” (John 1:6), whose name was Patrick. That light shone in the darkness, and the darkness was not able to overcome it (John 1:5).
St. Patrick’s pivotal and decisive confrontation with Ireland’s powers of darkness is said to have come at Tara, where on that Easter night Ireland’s pagan king Laogaire and his Druid clergy spotted the Slane fire off in the distance, and ultimately resolved to snuff out both the Christian faith it symbolized and the missionary who had come to light it.
We know from Patrick’s own writings that in the course of his apostolic labors he did indeed encounter hostility, persecution, and very real threats to his life. In his Confessio he speaks of undergoing “insults from unbelievers,” “many persecutions even unto chains” and of expecting daily either to be “massacred” or to suffer some other calamity at the hands of his foes (text in Maire B. De Paor, PBVM, ed., Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland: St. Patrick’s Confessio and Epistola, Dublin, Veritas, 1998, pp. 247, 261).
It was the confrontation with paganism at Tara that is said to have inspired Patrick to compose the prayer attributed to him for at least a thousand years — his Lorica (“Breastplate”). The earliest explicit reference to this prayer and the circumstances of its composition is in the tenth to eleventh century Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, which relates that when the pagan king Laogaire, intent upon putting Patrick to death, had set an ambush for him on the roads leading to Tara, the saint prayed in these words for protection.
Thereupon a “cloak of darkness” concealed Patrick and the clerics accompanying him, so that “not a man of them appeared.” All that the would-be assassins saw as Patrick and his companions passed was a retinue of “eight deer…and behind them a fawn” (text in Whitley Stokes, ed., The Tripartite Life of Patrick, with Other Documents relating to that Saint, part 1, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1887, pp. 46-53, esp. 47).
The preamble that accompanies this prayer in the earliest work to record its full text, the eleventh-century Liber Hymnorum, says that it is “a lorica [breastplate] of faith for the protection of body and soul against demons and men and vices,” and that when anyone “shall recite it daily with pious meditation on God, demons shall not dare to face him,” and it shall even serve as a breastplate for his soul after death (text in J.H. Bernard and R. Atkinson, The Irish Liber Hymnorum, London, Henry Bradshaw Society, 1898, volume 2, p. 49).
This hymn is a spiritual call to battle — indeed the Irish genre to which it belongs, that of the lorica, was intended as a supplication to be offered when vesting for warfare, as well as a morning offering to be said while dressing for the “battle” of a new day (Carl Daw, Glory to God: A Companion, Louisville, Ky., Westminster John Knox Press, 2016, p. 7).
The original Irish text has been translated in various ways, but perhaps the most compelling rendering of this text in English, and by far the most powerful setting of the prayer to music, has been the full nine-verse adaptation entitled, “I bind unto myself today,” its wording the work of the Anglican hymn-writer Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) and its music composed by the Englishman Charles Villiers Stanton (1852-1924).
When in 1893 Mrs. Alexander’s rendering of the Lorica was published as “Hymn 583” in the Irish Anglican volume, Church Hymnal: Appendix, the words of St. Paul, “Put on the whole armour of God” (Eph. 6:11), were printed as an epigraph just below the title of the hymn (Robert Prescott Stewart, ed., Church Hymnal: Appendix, Dublin, Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1893, p. 118).
Clearly Patrick’s prayer draws its inspiration in large part from St. Paul’s famous battle analogy in his Epistle to the Ephesians, in which he speaks of girding oneself with truth, putting on “the breastplate of righteousness” and “taking the shield of faith . . . the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:11-17).
Ludwig Bieler describes Patrick’s Lorica as combining “a profoundly religious spirit with poetic grandeur” (L. Bieler, ed., The Works of Saint Patrick; St. Secundinus, Hymn on St. Patrick, Ancient Christian Writers, n. 17, Westminster, Md., and London, Newman Press/Longmans, Green and Co., 1953, p. 68). Far from taking excessive liberties with the original, Mrs. Alexander’s adaptation serves only to accentuate, heighten, and underline the meaning and poetry of Patrick’s words by polishing and smoothing the phraseology. The lyricism of Mrs. Alexander’s translation laid the groundwork for what Charles Villiers Stanton would subsequently achieve in setting the prayer to truly worthy music.
For his setting of the Lorica Stanton chose a traditional Irish melody known simply as the “Hymn of St. Bernard,” a tune of an age and origin lost in the mists of history that in times past had been employed to sing St. Bernard’s Jesu dulcis memoria (melody in George Petrie and C.V. Stanford, eds., The Complete Collection of Irish Music, London, Boosey and Co., 1902-1905, n. 1048, p. 266). One modern hymnal describes Stanford’s musical setting of the text to the St. Bernard melody as “rugged, outdoor, striding music,” a work of “bounding energy” imbued with “grandeur” and “a bracing aura of intense experience” (Daw, Glory to God, pp. 8-9).
Stanton’s musical setting of “I bind unto myself today” can be heard in its uncut nine-verse entirety in an excellent 1997 digital recording by David Hill and the Winchester Cathedral Choir (from Hyperion CDS44311/3). Here we quote the first seven verses:
“I bind unto myself today / The strong Name of the Trinity, / By invocation of the same, / The Three in One, and One in Three.
“I bind this day to me for ever, / By pow’r of faith, Christ’s Incarnation; / His baptism in Jordan River; / His death on Cross for my salvation; / His bursting from the spiced tomb; / His riding up the Heav’nly way; / His coming at the day of doom; / I bind unto myself today.
“I bind unto myself the power / Of the great love of Cherubim; / The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour; / The service of the Seraphim, / Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word, / The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophet’s scrolls, / All good deeds done unto the Lord, / And purity of virgin souls.
“I bind unto myself today / The virtues of the starlit heaven, / The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, / The whiteness of the moon at even, / The flashing of the lightning free, / The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, / The stable earth, the deep salt sea, / Around the old eternal rocks.
“I bind unto myself today / The pow’r of God to hold, and lead, / His eyes to watch, His might to stay, / His ear to hearken to my need. / The wisdom of my God to teach, / His hand to guide, His shield to ward; / The Word of God to give me speech, / His heavenly host to be my guard.
“Against the demon snares of sin, / The vice that gives temptation force, / The natural lusts that war within, / The hostile men that mar my course; / Of few or many, far or nigh, / In every place, and in all hours, / Against their fierce hostility, / I bind to me these holy powers.
“Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, / Against false words of heresy, / Against the knowledge that defiles, / Against the heart’s idolatry, / Against the wizard’s evil craft, / Against the death-wound and the burning, / The choking wave, the poisoned shaft, / Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning” (text in Stewart, Church Hymnal: Appendix, pp. 118-121, 124-125).

It Will Not Stand

It seems no coincidence that the postmodern descent of Irish society into Neopaganism has been preceded and accompanied in certain academic quarters by a romanticization of Ireland’s ancient pagan past, an eagerness to find pagan origins for traditional Irish music and literature to the point of casting ancient Irish Christian hymns and prayers such as the Lorica as more Druid than Christian in spirit.
One suspects that secular academes who feel the attraction of traditional Irish culture but who are embarrassed by its overtly Catholic context feel the need to reassure their secularistic audience that they have no sympathy for Catholicism. Yet the Lorica is inescapably Catholic. Its petitions for protection from various evils have their counterpart in the Church’s ancient Litany of the Saints, and its nature references in Verse Four all have their precedent in the Book of Daniel’s canticle of the three young men in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:35-59).
Stanton’s employment of the “St. Bernard” melody for most of the Lorica is so captivating and enervating that when for the eighth and penultimate verse he temporarily lays it aside to resort to a different traditional Irish melody it can strike the listener as a disappointing departure. But the change in verbal structure for the phrases of this verse make such a musical detour a necessity, and this musically calmer interlude renders the return of the St. Bernard melody for the final verse all the more powerful.
Writing at a time when he himself was in danger of death at the hands of the seemingly unstoppable Nazis, Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977) observed, “He who has true confidence in God knows that God has not become ‘indifferent’ to us because He allows His foes to parade in triumph for a while” (Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude of Mind, New York, Longmans, Green and Co., 1948, p. 169).
The present “victory” for the culture of death in Ireland will not stand. Through the intercession of St. Patrick, and the prayers and sacrifices of those willing to follow his example, the light of Christ will in the end triumph over the darkness.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Yet another US bishop calls for Youth Synod to be canceled so Church can ‘deal with abuse crisis’

TYLER, Texas, September 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Texas bishop has called for the Youth Synod to be canceled in light of the ongoing scandal regarding the cover-up of episcopal sexual abuse of minors and seminarians. On September 8, Bishop…Continue Reading

ATLANTA ARCHBISHOP WILTON GREGORY INVITES HOMOSEXUALIST FR. JAMES MARTIN TO SPEAK

ATLANTA (ChurchMilitant.com) – Celebrity Jesuit Fr. James Martin is heading to Georgia, courtesy of pro-gay Abp. Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia. On Friday, Martin announced on Twitter that Abp. Gregory has invited him to speak in October at two Atlanta-area locations.…Continue Reading

Leaked sex abuse report rocks German church, 3,677 victims

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Two German major media outlets – Der Spiegel and Die Zeit – leaked today the findings of a sexual abuse commission funded by the German Bishops’ Conference and which Cardinal Reinhard Marx had planned to present to the public…Continue Reading

US bishops’ president accused of allowing reported sex abuser access to kids

September 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, has been accused of allowing a priest who confessed to sex abuse of a minor to function as a pastor of a parish,…Continue Reading

Cdl. Cupich on abuse crisis: We shouldn’t be ‘distracted’ by this, Church has ‘bigger agenda’

CHICAGO, September 10, 2018, (LifeSiteNews) – When challenged about the clergy sexual abuse scandal now facing the Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich told a large gathering of seminarians that the Church’s agenda is “bigger” than the sexual corruption now facing the…Continue Reading

Catholic prelates must speak out, now, as the faithful are attacked by their own shepherds

September 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The following reflection is the result of a couple of days of my reading and thinking about the last five years, but then also about the last fifty years. Trying to get an interview with…Continue Reading

Oklahoma archbishop: I’ve ‘deepest respect’ for Viganó. His claims demand ‘deeper examination’

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, August 31, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley has issued a statement saying he has the “deepest respect” for Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and his “integrity.” Some on the left have attempted to cast doubt…Continue Reading

One Mad Mom . . . Martin’s Cozy with Proximate Occasions of Sin

Let me say this, I am a mom of a multitude of kids and have spent their lives trying to ensure their safety and well-being.  I have THE biggest stake with what’s been going on in the Church for decades. …Continue Reading

Thousands of Catholic women ask Pope: Did you cover-up for McCarrick, as Viganò claims?

August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of prominent Catholic women have written an open letter to Pope Francis imploring him to provide clarity on the “escalating” sex abuse crisis currently “engulfing” the Church. Expressing anger, betrayal, and heartbreak, the women bluntly…Continue Reading

Ave Maria University president slams Viganò, Cardinal Burke

AVE MARIA, Florida, August 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Citing the “God of Surprises,” the president of a Roman Catholic University once known for its orthodoxy has slammed two faithful prelates for their challenges to the Pope, particularly in regard to…Continue Reading

Pope handpicks US cardinal enmeshed in McCarrick scandal as youth synod delegate

August 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has named Cardinal Joseph Tobin, a prelate who former papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Viganò has testified owes his rise to power to disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, as a delegate to the October synod on…Continue Reading

U.S. bishop disappointed with Pope’s ‘no comment’ answer on sex-abuse cover-up

MADISON, Wisconsin, August 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Robert Morlino vouched for the integrity of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, joining a growing chorus of faithful prelates who have expressed support for the former papal nuncio’s astounding testimony pointing to Pope Francis and other high-ranking…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

US bishops’ silence on meeting with Pope could put their credibility on sex abuse at risk

ROME, September 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Have the jocular images and low-key statements of US Bishops following their meeting with Pope Francis last week set back their attempts to address the grave situation in the Church, especially the handling of sexual abuse cases by bishops? The details that have been revealed of the bishops’ meeting with Francis last Thursday give no indication that they addressed the extent of the McCarrick coverup or the need for…Continue Reading

Cardinal Maradiaga rebukes papal critics: McCarrick abuse scandal ‘of a private order’

September 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The scandal of ex-Cardinal McCarrick’s homosexual abuse of young priests and seminarians and Pope Francis’ alleged cover-up are “of a private order,” and a merely “administrative affair,” according to one of the Pope’s top advisers, Cardinal Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga. He made these remarks in a recent interview in one of the most revealing statements to date on the Viganò testimony. In an interview published on Wednesday evening by Religion Digital, the religious portal…Continue Reading

Dutch Catholic church accused of widespread sexual abuse cover-up

More than half of the Netherlands’ senior clerics were involved in covering up sexual assault of children between 1945 and 2010, a press report claimed on Saturday, further engulfing the Catholic church in a global abuse scandal. Over the course of 65 years, 20 of 39 Dutch cardinals, bishops and their auxiliaries “covered up sexual abuse, allowing the perpetrators to cause many more victims”, the daily NRC reported. “Four abused children and 16 oth

Steve Bannon Drafting Curriculum for Right-Wing Catholic Institute in Italy

(Reuters) – Former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon is helping to craft the curriculum for a leadership course at a right-wing Roman Catholic institute in Italy, stepping up his efforts to influence conservative thinking in the church. Benjamin Harnwell, director of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute based in a mountaintop monastery not far from Rome, told Reuters Bannon had been helping to build up the institute for about half of its eight-year life. Cardinal Raymond…Continue Reading

China, Vatican ‘May Sign Deal’ on Chinese Catholics, Bishops: Taiwan

Beijing and the Vatican are on the verge of an agreement on the status of China’s Catholic Church and the controversial appointment of bishops by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, reports indicate. A report in the Wall Street Journal on Friday cited two people close to negotiations as saying that a deal was very close. In Taipei, Taiwan foreign affairs spokesman Li Hsien-chang said the democratic island’s officials had a similar understanding of the situation.…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Chaplain Tells Medical Workers…. Discovering God’s Will Leads To Love And Joy

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — Although those seeking a direction in life may turn to searching for God’s will, a Phoenix chaplain reminded listeners that another ruler from beyond the Earth also has a plan for their lives, Satan. Fr. Ignatius Mazanowski, FHS, chaplain of the Phoenix Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, explored a…Continue Reading

Solzhenitsyn: Truth Is Light

By DONALD DeMARCO Without the truth we are in the dark, not knowing how to think, judge, act, or live. Please tell us the truth. Please dispel the darkness. Readers of The Wanderer will understand my plea without my needing to divulge names. We do, as Marshall McLuhan explained to us, live in a global…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Skewed Ideas About Education And Minority Groups

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling. The past week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the…Continue Reading

Pro-Lifer… Arizona Governor Names Successor To Fill McCain’s Seat

By DEXTER DUGGAN PHOENIX — With its own strange brand of politics, Arizona acquired a new U.S. senator who agreed to fill the upper-chamber seat for at least a few months. Huh? With the late John McCain’s health slipping away for more than a year to an aggressive brain cancer, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. It’s been several years since a Vatican commission was appointed to investigate the legitimacy of the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. What is the status of that investigation? — M.K., South Carolina. A. In 2014, the commission concluded a four-year study of the Medjugorje phenomenon and sent a report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of…Continue Reading

HLI’s Mission To Mongolia… There Are Setbacks, But The Church Continues

By FR. SHENAN BOQUET (Editor’s Note: Fr. Shenan Boquet is the president of Human Life International. This commentary first appeared September 3 at HLI.org and was reprinted by LifeSiteNews.com. All rights reserved.) + + + “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in…Continue Reading

True Wisdom From Above

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 James 3:16-4:3 Mark 9:30-37 In the second reading today, St. James tells us that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. As we look around, we can certainly see an abundance of disorder and foul practices. To eliminate these…Continue Reading

A Book Review… Why Evangelists Need An Interior Life

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Spiritual Handbook for Catholic Evangelists: How to Win Souls Without Losing Your Own, by Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard (Sophia Institute Press, 192 pages, Amazon paperback and Kindle). This is a new version of an old spiritual classic, originally written about a century ago, but still valid for today’s Church, and particularly for those involved in evangelization. The…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Confession… Confession Among The Early Christians

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 Here are some more testimonies from the Early Christians about the Sacrament of Confession, how they understood the sacrament and how it was administered by the priests to the people when they sinned. Those writers are known in history as the Fathers of the Early Church, the theologians and Bible scholars of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Servant of God Rozalia Celak

By CAROLE BRESLIN The closer one comes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the hotter the flame, as many saints have attested. St. Catherine of Siena bore the marks in her heart where the arrow of Christ’s love pierced it. With the flame of the burning love, the Sacred Heart touches those whom He loves in a special way. To…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Our Lady Of Mount Carmel

By CAROLE BRESLIN In northern Israel between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, a mountain range stretches inland. This range, although named Mount Carmel, is really a series of mountains stretching inland. The main site of the Mount, the Stella Maris monastery of the Discalced Carmelites, sits on a limestone bluff overlooking the city of Haifa. The view…Continue Reading