Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh


As Patrick's boat pushed west, he felt a strange chill from the memory of the same journey he had made years earlier under very different circumstances. The smell of the sea  and the fog clinging to the waves and the cliffs took him back to when he was a lad of sixteen, traveling to Irland in bonds with the raiding party that had burned his home and taken him as a slave.

Despite the hardships of having been a slave for 6 years, tending the herds of a Druidic high priest named Milchu, Patrick had come to have a supranatural love for Ireland. It was in Ireland that Patrick had come to know God personally as he walked the woods and mountains alone with the animals. He had grown up in a Christian home in a British Roman settlement but had never embraced the faith while he lived with his family. He had been a lax student during that time, something he now greatly regretted, and was too independently minded to walk so easily in his family's faith. Alone and seemingly forsaken in Ireland, Patrick sought out God and found Him. Then, through a dream, God led him to escape and eventually return to his family, who welcomed him warmly. Upon his return to Britain, Patrick resumed his studies with more vigor, intending to join the ministry as his father and grandfather had.

 Now, as the oars pulled against the dark  waves, Patrick began to see God's hand in it all. Shortly after his return to Britain, Patrick had a dream about Ireland in which he heard "the voice of the Irish" calling to him: "We beg you, holy youth, come and walk among us again". Patrick felt this was God's call to return to Ireland with the Gospel. Yet he felt unfit for the task, so he journeyed to a monastery in Britain, again leaving his family, and poured himself into being ordained. Roughly 20 years had passed since then. At his first opportunity to return, Patrick was passed up by his church elders to be a missionary to Ireland, and another, a man by the name of Palladius, was chosen. When Palladius was killed a short time later, Patrick was elected to go.

Upon landing, Patrick returned to the village where he had been a slave. His  intent was that his first convert would be the man who had been his master, Milchu. But when he arrived there, he found Milchu's home in aches - at word of his coming, Milchu had gathered all of his possessions into his home and lit it on fire, killing himself in the flames. Patrick spent some time preaching to the locals there and finding out what had happened since his departure and who was in power. His years as a slave had served him well, as he still spoke their language fluently and with little accent. The king Laeghaire  of Ireland  would be celebrating the Druidic feast of Beltine, which coincided with Easter that year, at his courts in Tara. It was tradition that on the eve of the festival, it would be the high king who lighted the first bonfire of the festival - anyone who defied this would be put to death. Yet as the king emerged that night to start the festival, Patrick's bonfire was already glowing brightly for all to see on the hilltop of Slane - as had Elijah before the prophets of Baal, Patrick had uttered a formal challenge to the Druids and their king. "O King, said two Druidic priests, the man who lit he fire and the coming kingdom by which it was lit will overcome us all!" The king ordered Patrick's bonfire extinguidhed, but no matter what the soldiers did, the fire refused to be put out. Though it is unclear what happened, Patrick's victory over Laeghaire and his Druids opened the political doors of Ireland to the Gospel. Though the king did not become a Christian on this day, his chef bard, his two daughters and one of his brother did and were baptized. The brother gave Patrick land and a barn that became the first church.

For the next 30 years, Patrick established Christianity throghout Ireland. He remained humble and counted only on God's protection to free him from any situations. He wrote a prayer, which he titled "The breastplate" or Protector:

CHRIST, 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 beneathe 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 quiet,/ Christ in danger,/ 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.

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