Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Shield and a charming legend

St. Patrick lived from 385 to 461, and one-thousand five hundred and forty-six years later his legend is still strong.

How much of what we know of him today is truth, and how much is myth? The very language he spoke then has been transmuted by the passage of time into something he wouldn't recognize.

The prayer known as St. Patrick's Shield may be found in countless versions, long or short, rhyming or not, and some even set to music. Many of the versions note that another name for St. Patrick's Shield is "The Deer's Cry". Why? (I was the kid who always asked "why" - and still am today.)

Reading this short and charming legend of St. Patrick, I was again reminded of why I love this saint.

The following excerpt from "The Deer's Cry" resonated with my love of earth and sky.

I arise today,
through the strength of Heaven;
light of Sun,
brilliance of Moon,
splendor of Fire,
speed of Lightning,
swiftness of Wind,
depth of Sea,
stability of Earth,
firmness of Rock.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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