Hymn on St. Patrick, Teacher of the Irish
by St. Secundinus
Hear ye all, lovers of God, the | holy merits
Of the man blessed in Christ, Pa - | trick the bishop,
How for his good ways he is likened to the an - | gels,
And because of his perfect life is deemed equal to | the Apostles.
Christ's holy precepts he keeps | in all things,
His works shine | bright among men,
And they follow his holy and wondrous exam - | ple,
And thus magnify God the Father | in the heavens.
Constant in the fear of God and steadfast | in his faith,
Upon whom the Church is built | as on Peter;
And his Apostleship has he received from | God --
The gates of Hell will not pre - | vail against him.
The Lord has chosen him to teach the barbar - | ian tribes,
To fish with the nets | of his teaching,
And to draw from the world unto grace the believ - | ers,
Men who would follow the Lord to His | heavenly seat.
He sells the choice talents of | Christ's Gospel
And collects them among the Irish hea - | thens with usury;
As a reward for the great labor of his voy - | age,
He will come into possession of joy with Christ in the
hea - | venly kingdom.
God's faithful minister and His distinguished am - | bassador,
He gives the good an Apostolic ex - | ample and model,
Preaching as he does to God's people in words as well as in |
So that him whom he converts not with words he inspires |
with good conduct.
Glory has he with Christ, honor | in the world,
He who is venerated by all as an | angel of God.
God has sent him, as He sent Paul, an Apostle to the gen - | tiles,
To offer men guidance to the | kingdom of God.
Humble is he of mind and body because of his | fear of God;
The Lord abides upon him because | of his good deeds;
In his righteous flesh he bears the stigmata of | Christ;
In His Cross alone, his sole comfort, | he glor - ies.
Untiringly he feeds the faithful from the heaven - | ly banquet,
Lest those who are with Christ | faint on the way;
Like bread he gives to them the words of the Gos - | pel,
Which are multiplied like manna | in his hands.
He preserves his body chaste for love | of the Lord;
This body he has prepared as a temple for the | Holy Spirit,
And he keeps it such by purity in all his act - | ions;
He offers it as a living sacrifice, acceptable | to the Lord.
Enflaming light of the world, great one | of the Gospel,
Lifted up on a candlestick, shining un - | to all the age -
The fortified city of the King, founded upon a moun - | tain,
Wherein there is great abundance | of the Lord.
Greatest indeed will be called in the kingdom | of heaven
The man who fulfills with good deeds the holy | words he teaches,
Who by his good example is a leader and model to the faith -| ful,
Who in purity of heart has con - | fidence in God.
Boldly he proclaims the Name of the Lord to | the heathens,
And gives them eternal grace in the bath | of salvation.
He prays to God daily for their | sins,
For them he offers sacrifices, worthy in | the eyes of God.
For the sake of God's law he despises all | worldly glory;
Compared to His table he considers all | else as trifling;
He is not moved by the violence of this | world,
But, suffering for Christ, he rejoices in | adversity.
A good and faithful shepherd of the flock won for | the Gospel,
God has chosen him to watch o - | ver God's people
And to feed with divine teaching His | folk,
For whom, following Christ's example, he | gives forth his soul.
Who for his merits the Savior has raised him to the dignity of a |
In heavenly things he instructs the army | of the clergy,
Providing them with heavenly rations, besides vest - | ments -
The rations of divine | and sacred texts.
He is the King's herald, inviting the faithful | to the wedding.
He is richly clad in a | wedding garment,
He drinks heavenly wine from heavenly | cups
And gives God's people the spiritual | cup to drink.
He finds a holy treasure in the Sa - | cred Volume
And perceives the Savior's divinity | in His flesh.
It is a treasure he purchases with holy and perfect | works.
ISRAEL his soul is called -- | "see - ing God."
A faithful witness of the Lord in the Ca - | tholic Law,
His speech is spiced with divine | revelations,
That human flesh may not decay, eaten by | worms,
But be salted with heavenly savor | for sacrifice.
A true and renowned tiller of the | Gospel field,
His seeds | are Christ's Gospels.
These he sows from his God-inspired mouth into the ears of the |
And cultivates their hearts and minds with the | Holy Spirit.
Christ chose him to be His vi - | car on earth.
He frees captives from a two-fold | ser - vitude:
The great numbers whom he liberates from bondage to | men,
These countless ones he frees from the yoke | of the devil.
Hymns, and the Apocalypse, and the Psalms of | God he sings,
And explains them for the edification | of God's people.
He believes the law in the Trinity of the holy | Name,
And he teaches one Substance | in Three Persons.
Girt with the Lord's girdle | day and night,
He prays unceasingly | to God the Lord.
He will receive the reward for his immense la - | bor -
With the Apostles will he reign, holy, over | Is - rael.
May Bishop Patrick pray for | all of us,
That the sins which we have committed be blotted out | immediately,
May we ever sing Patrick's prais - | es,
That we may ever | live with him.
[This is a more literal translation by Fr. Kristopher Dowling
from the Latin of the _Antiphonary of Bangor_. A non-literal
translation such as the one by Ludwig Bieler may be misleading:
for example, Bieler replaces "with Christ" with "in union with
Christ" in verse five. In the eighth verse the term "stigmata" is
used in the original text. This Hymn is the only source on the
life of St. Patrick which suggests stigmata, but it is contemporary,
and does not say simply "marks." The twenty fourth verse was
completely omitted in Bieler's translation, perhaps because the
stanza does not begin with the next letter of the Latin alphabet.
(It begins with the letter P, for Patrick.) It is an acclamation
and a prayer for intercessions, and belongs in the text. Without
this last verse asking the Saint to pray for us and with us, we
would be saying that contemplation of the merits or qualities of
the life of St. Patrick would be sufficient for our salvation, i.e.,
the modern Roman view of "merits."
[The following notes are paraphrased from Bieler: The
original text is found in the Antiphonary of Bangor, called "Audite
omnes," an abecedarian hymn, consecutive letters of the alphabet
beginning each stanza. Secundinus came from the continent, and
wrote this hymn contemporary with St. Patrick. Muirchu states in
his Life of Patrick that St. Patrick was granted the favor that all
persons who sang this hymn on their last day would be saved by St.
Patrick's intercession. Tirechan states in the "Book of Armagh" that
"his canticle" should be sung throughout the triduum of his
dormition, that is, from the 17th to the 19th of March. In the
"Genair Patraic" (800 A.D.) the hymn of Secundinus is called a
protection, a lorica (breast-plate) or prayer of special power, as
is the "Deer's Cry," the prayer by St. Patrick.]
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