March 17

Read: Luke 13:31-35

Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem. –vv. 31-33

When I was doing my B.A., my Senior Comprehensive requirement was a seminar class on the cult of the saints in Catholicism. My 25-page paper was on evangelism in the early Celtic Church, and one of the things I read quite frequently was St. Patrick’s Breastplate, allegedly written while St. Patrick was trying to escape the henchmen of Lóegaire mac Néill, the High King of Ireland at the time. (The full version can be found here.)

In this prayer, also known as a caim, Patrick wraps the protection of God around himself like a cloak:

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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I imagine Jesus longs to surround us and protect us like that when I read today’s Gospel.

Surround us, dear Jesus, and protect us from all harm. Amen.

-Jen McCabe

PS: For those of you are music people, here is a choral version of the entire thing: