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St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

I was antiquing over spring break and stumbled upon the Irish blessing on an embroidered tapestry. When I returned to campus, this poem was displayed in the Caf on the back of a DVD case. I wondered where it came from, and the meanings behind it. 

The popular Irish blessing is used often, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. Although the author of the poem is unknown, the blessing is also used as a prayer associated with the saint. 

Although it is said that the poem predates Christian times and was used to bless clans as they passed through the country, the symbols in the poem have been associated with analogies of the Faith. 

The wind in the poem can be interpreted as the Holy Spirit guiding one through life. The sun’s warmth is said to be alluding to the mercy of God which is stated in the Bible as “by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven.” Luke 1:78 NIV. Rain is typically used as a symbol of growth and renewal and may be symbolic of God’s provision. 

The use of nature to describe God all around us on a journey is a beautiful way to be reminded of His involvement with His creation and to surrender our daily “journeys” to Him.       

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