Homily for the Feast of St. Patrick
Dear Canons, Dear Confrere, Dear Faithful,
It is a great blessing and joy for me to be here in Ireland for the Feast of our beloved Father in the Faith, Saint Patrick! What holy pride and profound gratitude should be ours on this solemn and holy day! Thanks to the triumphant victory of St. Patrick over the powers of hell in Ireland, 16 centuries ago, countless souls have been won for the Kingdom of Christ, and reign gloriously now forever in Heaven! The gift of grace given to the Irish has overflowed to numerous other nations and peoples of the world to such a degree, that, in an accommodated sense, we could apply to Saint Patrick the promise made by God to Abraham: “In thy seed all the nations of the Earth will be blessed.” Through the saints and missionaries of Ireland, many nations of the Earth have been blessed by receiving the light of the True Faith!
The expulsion of snakes from the Emerald Isle by St. Patrick was symbolic of the great victory he won here over the devil. The crushing defeat suffered by Satan was so humiliating, that he and his infernal legions have ever since strived to regain a foothold here, but with little success.
Thanks to St. Patrick, the Ancient Serpent, the Prince of this world, the Prince of Darkness, has never been the prince of Ireland!
If Ireland has had no King for many centuries, it is because her only King was Christ, and her only allegiance was to His Vicar on Earth, the Pope! For centuries, the obedience and fidelity of Ireland to the Holy Roman Faith, the only True Faith, outside of which none can be saved, has been a shining example offered to the rest of the Christian World.
During his time on Croagh Patrick, Saint Patrick received the favor of a vision of the immense and glorious army of his spiritual descendants, who were to be the fruit of his zealous life of apostolic labor. He saw in advance the souls who would become his compatriots of heaven, thanks to his victory over the Evil one.
Down through the centuries, each new generation of Irishmen has been proud to belong to the Holy Church of Jesus Christ. By the blood of her martyrs, the courage of her confessors, the purity of her virgins and the holiness of her families, the Emerald Isle has rightly earned its title as “the Isle of Saints”. This is the fruit of Saint Patrick’s spiritual conquest for Christ; this is the heritage, of which we are the beneficiaries.
My dear brothers, despite her great spiritual patrimony, dark times have fallen upon our beloved Ireland in recent years. The Ancient Serpent, the Father of Lies, knowing that his time is short, has succeeded in infiltrating the hearts of many Irishmen. Under his evil influence, the spirit of the world has been replacing the spirit of Christ. Satan has crafted a pseudo-religion, a religion whose dogmas consist of politically correct ideologies. The evil one hopes to replace the True Church of Christ, the Church of Light, Grace and Truth, with a false church of Satan, a church of darkness, sin and falsehood.
Who among us is unaware of the tragic spiritual state into which Ireland has fallen in recent years? Many have abandoned the attendance of Sunday Mass and frequent confession; the sin of Sodom has been established as a sacrament of the new Church of Satan; the distinction of male and female, established by God Himself in the law of nature, is denied by the so called “gender theory”; the human sacrifice of abortion, offered to the Prince of Darkness, is progressively entering our Holy Isle. These things are truly abominations in the sight of almighty God and Saint Patrick, and they dishonor the proud and holy heritage of our ancestors, many of who preferred to shed their blood, rather than betray our Holy Faith. Through the introduction of these public sins, the evil one hopes to gain the upper hand and turn the tide in his war with St. Patrick, which he has been losing for so long.
Faced with the horror of this diabolical invasion of Ireland, we must not despair or lose heart. Rather, let us be strong, and bravely rally around the standard of the Holy Cross of Christ! Let us imitate the example of bravery and courage given by our forefathers as members of Christ’s army, and courageously take our turn in the holy battle line in this melee with the powers of hell. Let us show ourselves to be worthy sons of the True Church, by a courageous profession of our Holy Faith.
We cannot serve two Masters. Today, we are presented with a decision, a choice which will determine our eternal destiny. It is ours to choose: service of Christ, rewarded by eternal life, or enslavement to Satan rewarded by everlasting death. May our Lady of Knock and Saint Patrick intercede for us in our combat. Led by them into battle, and strengthened by their prayers and example, we shall be able to cast Satan out of our own hearts, and thus cast him out of Ireland.
‘The Breastplate’ or ‘Lorica’ of St. Patrick is a powerful weapon for our daily spiritual combat with the devil. For today’s feast, I would like to read an excerpt of this beautiful prayer:
I bind to myself today a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I bind to myself today
God's power to guide 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 the snares of demons,
From the seduction of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I invoke today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may assail my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of paganism,
Against false laws of heresy,
Against deceits of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
That I may receive abundant 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.
The full prayer can be found on the prayer cards at the entrance to the church.
My dear brothers, let us renew our love and zeal for our Holy Mother the Roman Catholic Church, so hated and persecuted by the world today. Let us courageously follow St. Patrick into the spiritual combat which awaits us. Let us be proud to belong to the army of our Divine Master and Commander, Jesus Christ! Ours is to fight; God’s is to grant the victory. United to our brave and holy ancestors, through the communion of Saints, let us make our own their battle cry:
“Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!” Amen.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.