Readers of this blog will know that I am somewhat obsessed by yard art. And Watertown is replete with it, for which I am, overall, thankful. A family on Main Street is currently featuring a series of shamrocks with Irish sayings on them. The print is too small to read as one drives by in a car. So I pulled over to read them.
What’s not to love about an Irish saying? And I was glad to see Mary, the Mother of our Lord, watching over the wooden shamrocks, reminding us that St. Patrick’s Day, which is now observed as an international drinking contest, originated as a holy day commemorating a fairly ascetic missionary. After all, legend tell us that St. Patrick performed his first miracle on Irish soil “to confirm the honour due to the Blessed Virgin.”
I cannot think of St. Patrick without breaking out into a verse or two of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, that marathon of hymns often sung on Trinity Sunday and at ordinations. Here’s a feisty verse that didn’t make it into the Hymnal 1982.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
….Something to sing as you raise a glass to St. Patrick on Thursday.