Friday, March 17, 2006

Works by and Attributed to St. Patrick

And on a second occasion I saw Him praying within me, and I was as it were, inside my own body , and I heard Him above me—that is, above my inner self. He was praying powerfully with sighs. And in the course of this I was astonished and wondering, and I pondered who it could be who was praying within me. But at the end of the prayer it was revealed to me that it was the Spirit. And so I awoke and remembered the Apostle’s words: ‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’ And again: ’The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’

Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus: A fierce denunciation of Christians killing Christians:

You prefer to kill and sell them to a foreign nation that has no knowledge of God. You betray the members of Christ as it were into a brothel. What hope have you in God, or anyone who thinks as you do, or converses with you in words of flattery? God will judge. For Scripture says: Not only they that do evil are worthy to be condemned, but they also that consent to them.

Lorica ('The Deer's Cry'): The famous prayer (of which I quoted a section in the previous post). The alternative name cames from the tradition that in response to the prayer Patrick and his companions were turned into deer so they could escape their enemies.

Likewise, the following farewell blessing on the people of Munster is traditionally attributed to Patrick, although I'm not sure what its claim to authenticity is:

A blessing on the Munster people --
Men, youths, and women;
A blessing on the land
That yields them fruit.

A blessing on every treasure
That shall be produced on their plains,
Without any one being in want of help,
God's blessing be on Munster.

A blessing on their peaks,
On their bare flagstones,
A blessing on their glens,
A blessing on their ridges.

Like the sand of the sea under ships,
Be the number in their hearths;
On slopes, on plains,
On mountains, on hills, a blessing.

There are other works that have been attributed to Patrick. The Synodus secunda Patritii, for instance, is a set of Irish ecclesiastical canons; it is almost certainly not by Patrick himself. There are also two Latin tracts, De abusionibus saeculi and De Tribus habitaculis, also probably not by Patrick, that were attributed to him; as was a synodical decree, Si quae quaestiones in hac insula oriantur, ad Sedem Apostolicam referantur. With any great and influential hero like Patrick, there are bound to be misattributed works.

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