Friday, February 8, 2013

Patrick and Multi-Dimensional Prayer

Today is the final day of week 5, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures are Exodus 13-15, Ephesians 3, and Psalm 114.

Today I want to look at Ephesians 3:14-19:

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Paul wants us to understand the multi-dimensional love of God.  We thinnk of Heaven as above us, so it makes sense to talk about the heights of God's love.  But God's love goes way beyond thatIf a flat picture is two-dimensional (length and width), then a statue is three-dimensional (length, width, and height).  But Paul says God's love goes beyond normal measures, into a fourth dimension, depth--which has to do with orders of magnitude.  In fact, God's love is beyond our comprehension.  I hope His love blows your mind as much as it blows mine.

Sometimes, to emphasize God's multi-dimensional love to myself, I like to picture myself standing at the center of a bubble of God's love--with God's love above and below me, to my right and to my left, before me and behind me, penetrating into me and radiating from me.  I'm not alone in this imagery--I borrowed it from St. Patrick, who is known for many things, among which is his prayer entitled "The Breastplate."  I'd like to share it with you today.

          I bind myself today to a strong virtue, an invocation of the Trinity.
          I believe in a Threeness, with confession of an Oneness in the Creator of the Universe.

          I bind myself today to the virtue of Christ's birth with his baptism,
          to the virtue of his crucifixion with his burial,
          to the virtue of his resurrection with his ascension,
          to the virtue of his coming to the Judgment of Doom.
          I bind myself today to the virtue of ranks of Cherubim,
          in obedience of Angels,
          [in service of Archangels]
          in hope of resurrection for reward,
          in prayers of Patriarchs,
          in preaching of Apostles,
          in faiths of Confessors,
          in innocence of Holy Virgins,
          in deeds of righteous men.
          I bind myself today to the virtue of Heaven,
          In light of Sun,
          In brightness of Snow
          In splendour of Fire,
          In speed of Lightning,
          In swiftness of Wind,
          In depth of Sea,
          In stability of Earth,
          In compactness of Rock.
          I bind myself today to God's Virtue 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 to me,
          God's hand to guard me,
          God's way to lie before me,
          God's shield to protect me,
          God's host to secure me,
          Against snares of demons,
          Against seductions of vices,
          Against lusts of nature,
          Against every one who wishes ill to me,
          Afar and anear,
          Alone and in a multitude.
          So have I invoked all these virtues between me, [and these]
          against every cruel, merciless power which may come against my body and my soul
          against incantations of false prophets,
          against black laws of heathenry,
          against false laws of heretics,
          against craft of idolatry,
          against spells of women and smiths and druids,
          against every knowledge that defiles men's souls.
          Christ to protect me today,
          Against poison, against burning, against drowning, against death-wound,
          Until a multitude of rewards come to me!
          Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me!
          Christ below me, Christ above me.
          Christ at my right, Christ at my left!
          Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height!
          Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
          Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
          Christ in every eye that sees me,
          Christ in every ear that hears me!
          I bind myself today to a strong virtue, an invocation of the Trinity.
          I believe in a Threeness with confession of a Oneness, in the Creator of [the universe.]
          Salvation is the Lord's, salvation is the Lord's, salvation is Christ's
          May Thy salvation, O Lord, be always with us.

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