Dublin and proper

The trip is off to a wonderful start. After our first full day in Ireland, we got to sit down to a proper Irish supper, complete with cabbage and Guinness for those who wanted it. The next morning it was off to the city Of Dublin to see the Book of Kells and St Patrick’s cathedral. Liam was rarin’ to go, and almost climbed the fence to get in. And, at the same time, one of our professors, sculptor Chris Slatoff, can be seen giving one of his nearly continuous talks. He has us wrapped around his finger. When we are in public, we tend to gain a few extra members to our group, as tourists find his thoughts as enthralling as we do.

Tonight we will begin Praying the Hours, which is an ancient monastic tradition. While I normally would not relish the idea of getting up several times in the night, I am looking forward to it–and I believe that my classmates are as well. Tomorrow we are on the road again. It is my hope that at some point during the trip I will have a chance to post more for you, in the meantime, I will make a point to continue offering you glimpses.

Have a blessed day!

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Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

Today’s Monday Inspiration comes in honor of the country I arrived in this morning. This is an Irish blessing attributed to St. Patrick. (It may look long, but its a quick read)Be blessed today!

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession in 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 the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarch,
In prediction 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,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightening,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Though 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 and 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 lay 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 the belief in the threeness,
Through the confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Ireland or Bust

I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to share with you a new summer adventure:  In a couple of days I will board my first-ever trans-atlantic flight and fly to Ireland.  With the exception of the occasional jaunt into Mexico (and, really who counts the occasional jaunt into Mexico?) I have never really been out of the country.  This is in spite of the fact that I am considered one of the jet-setters of my family.

As a result I will be taking Faith Unscripted off the rails between now and when I return, the first week of July. Expect anything but our regular conversations while I am away.  I do not know how much time I will have to write, or when I might have access to the internet.  But when I do, I will probably be posting thought, pictures, and whatever else I can during the trip (maybe even a video?).  Also keep an eye on my twitter feed (see the feed to the right of your screen on most browsers, or follow me at twitter @nickybarger). We’ll return to Monday Inspirations and “thoughtful thursdays” as they normally appear in early July.  For now, this trip is sure to be both inspirational and thoughtful.

Why Ireland? Well, for one thing, why not Ireland?  Simply speaking, the Brehm Center offered two courses there this summer, and I was determined to go.  The more complicated answer is this: this is what I came here for.  I recently sat in an office with an advisor trying to work out my schedule for the rest of my time at Fuller.  Though my time with her was productive, and her services helpful,  it seemed apparent to me that she thought that my choice to go to Ireland was a waste of time and money.  “You have no more electives, you realize these won’t count, don’t you?”

Bless her, it was her job to point that out to me.  But frankly, in that moment, all I could see was someone who just didn’t get it.  You see, I am not on an specific pre-planned/known-to-me career-path that required me to get and MAT in order to advance professionally.  But, let’s be clear, my degree is more than mere “personal enrichment”.  I am confident of my call to Fuller, and despite my ignorance of God’s plan, I have no doubt a plan exists.  I am in the rare but not unique position where I have to pick and choose the education I get, because on one hand I need to fulfill the requirements set before me to graduate.  But I also need to get in the classes that resonate with that cord God plucked in me that made it clear God was moving me to Fuller for a reason. Without a doubt, the courses I am required to take have value, and I do learn from them.  But, just the same, I have to keep an eye open for those classes that I suspect have more to do with God’s plan for my life, than the Registrar’s plan.

So, then.  Ireland.

For now, my parting gift to you is this recent satellite image of IRE, where the entire island was briefly exposed with no cloud cover whatsoever.  This is a rare shot of the Emerald Island.  Enjoy.