The Inner Struggle

I Arise Today … “Atomriug indiu”

“A Dhia Ghleigil” (Oh Glorious God) Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the albom “Vox de Nube”, 1996

I am thinking about mortality, and sin, and the state of affairs in our current modern English society. Here is a little story from the Catholic side of my family. My line is Irish/French on my mother’s side and German/Swiss on my father’s side.

I guess you could say I am a “religious half breed”, Catholic and Methodist, which is why I see these religious things a little differently from those who come from a unified  spiritual background, or no spiritual background.

On the East coast as a child on Sunday I would sing in church with my Catholic mother, and then sing in church with my Methodist grandmother. Everyone was just trying to save little Joe’s soul as best they knew. Now, as an old(er) man, I sing in church with my daughter who plays piano for our music ministry.

Anyway, here is a little story of my recent ancestors.

November 24, 1831.  “I the undersigned, having received the mutual consent of Michael Devanny, Son of Darby Devanny and Margaret Gillan, of the County of Sligo, Ireland, and Ann Magown, Daughter of James Magown and Bridget MacCown,  of the Same County, Married them in the presence of John Stewart, Patrick MacMullin and John Scollion. (signed by) J. Loughran P.P.”

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Saint Patrick

Thus begins the story of my mother’s family in the new world. Before the first child was baptized the family name had been changed to DeVan, (from Belgium via the Channel Islands, as the family mythology goes, because of course “Irish need not apply”)  and they had three children baptized as DeVan before Michael’s untimely death 7 and a half years later. The DeVan Family Bible states that Michael DeVan died 20th of May 1839 at Dartmouth from stepping on a rusty nail. St. Mary’s R.C. Registers (Halifax) Burials (1830-1842) No. 25, (PANS Reel 11506)

“I the undersigned buried Michael DeVan aged 34 years, husband of Ann McGowan, a Ship carpenter by trade and a native of Ireland. J Loughnan P.P.”

In a time when life was often short and even brutal, bigotry was more common and virulent and literacy was not widespread amongst the common man, name spelling varied from day to day and person to person it seems. But their prayers still survived. There were prayers still, in the time of Michael and Ann, powerful prayers, that had come down from ancient times and which are now lost to most modern peoples, prayers abandoned along with the sacraments.

Sometimes called “The Deer’s Cry”, this is one of those prayers, translated from Old Irish around 1898, to be read aloud as a morning prayer, attributed to St. Patrick (ca 433?)

St. Patrick’s Breastplate
(“I Arise Today”)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

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 way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of 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.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Domini est salus, Domini est salus, Christi est salus. Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum. (Salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of The Lord, salvation is of Christ. May thy salvation, Lord, be always with us.)

Good Morning and may you have a blessed and peaceful day …

Cheers

Joe

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