Everybody’s Irish?

From Jacqueline Shuler, the artist:

From Jacqueline Shuler, the artist: “Classic Irish Blessing with tenth century Celtic hand lettering.The capitals in the title are decorated with authentic “zoomorphs”. These are animal images interwoven with the letters. I drew the interweaving border which has no beginning or end, in the tradition of Celtic decoration. I placed a trefoil, symbol of the Trinity, along the bottom border. I focus on making my designs authentic by using the letters and designs embedded in the culture–in this case, Ireland in the tenth century”

I love St. Patrick’s Day.  I love my Irish heritage, and love trying to spread a little knowledge about St. Patrick.  The McCoy family never sends out Christmas cards.  We send out St. Patrick’s Day cards, and I love looking up a good Irish blessing, or a prayer of St. Patrick to put in it.

The McCoy name is Irish, but it is not easily traced because it has many different roots.  It may be Scotch-Irish. While my Dad and I were in Ireland, we found out that the McCoys (or simply Coys or MacCaugheys) moved from Ireland to Scotland before coming to America.

Every St. Patrick’s Day I think back to the time my Dad and I spent in Ireland. It was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. We listened to music in Dublin, and held our breath on the Cliffs of Moher. We marveled at the hillsides that looked as if God had laid down a quilt of green. We kissed the Blarney stone.  We danced. We sang.  We drank some Harp (I hadn’t yet acquired the taste for Guinness), and talked to kind, hospitable people wherever we went. My Irish heritage might be less than pure, but Ireland has claimed a piece of my heart.

Today, there are few things I enjoy more than sitting down with a Guinness and some friends and listening to some good Irish music. So today, everyone is Irish.

Okay – that sounds nice, but how many people really stop and think about what that means?  

If by saying “Today I’m Irish,” you mean that you want to drink Budweiser with blue food coloring in it; act like an fool; start a fight; and wear some silly, vulgar, green t-shirt; then frankly, I’d prefer if you just stayed German (or Polish or Swedish or African American or English or whatever you are) and act like a fool because you are a fool, not in the name of ‘being Irish.’

If, however, by saying “Today I’m Irish” you mean that you respect Irish culture, want to enjoy a good evening with friends with some good music and a pint or two, then yes, you are Irish. If it means that you are going to Mass or said a prayer for the Irish people, then yes, today you are Irish.  If it means that  you stand in solidarity with a people that suffered centuries of famine, subjugation, attempted genocide at home, and racism and violence that greeted them when they got to America, then yes, today you are Irish.

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Indeed, today we may all be Irish, and I leave you with this, “The Breastplate of Saint Patrick,” as found on the website prayerfoundation.org.

I bind unto myself today The strong Name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever. By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation; His baptism in the Jordan river; His death on Cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spicèd tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power Of the great love of the cherubim; The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour, The service of the seraphim, Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word, The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls, All good deeds done unto the Lord, And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today The virtues of the starlit heaven, The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, The whiteness of the moon at even, The flashing of the lightning free, The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, The stable earth, the deep salt sea, Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin, The vice that gives temptation force, The natural lusts that war within, The hostile men that mar my course; Or few or many, far or nigh, In every place and in all hours, Against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry, Against the wizard’s evil craft, Against the death wound and the burning, The choking wave and the poisoned shaft, Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same. The Three in One, and One in Three, Of Whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Filed under Christianity, Personal Reflection

4 responses to “Everybody’s Irish?

  1. Dennis

    I enjoyed your musings re: “the old country” (my grandfathers term).Cant wait to go for Patrick and Carolyn’s wedding.
    Wishing you and your family good luck and good times in your new home.You will be missed.
    Dennis(meaghans dad,annie &maggies papa)

  2. Lovely Prayer. Be Blessed.

  3. seamus

    McCoy (MacAodha) is as pure an Irish surname as any, the McCoys were Gallowglass warriors who settled in Ireland in the 1400’s, at first they were called the Gall Gaeil by native Irish gaels as the McCoys were a mixture of Vikings and Gaels who had settled on the islands off the west of scotland. They settled in Ireland and intermarried with the people of Ireland and were part of the Gaelic Pre-Plantation population of Ireland.

  4. Pingback: The Breastplate of Saint Patrick | The Fat Pastor

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