This Fateful Hour

One of my favorite book series is the Time Quintet by Madeline L’Engle. Within that series, there is a book called A Swiftly Tilting Planet. L’Engle puts her own spin on Saint Patrick’s Breastplate in the story; the characters use it as a sort of prayer/spell hybrid to defeat the “powers of darkness.” Here’s her version of the well-known Catholic prayer:

“At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness
All these I place,
By God’s almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.”
– Madeline L’Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

The prayer is ultimately based on the passage from the Bible about putting on the “full armor of God.” This is more obvious when you read the full text of the original prayer, which is linked above. Saint Patrick knew who the real enemies were. As Paul said, they are the dark powers of this universe. We fight against hatred, sin, demons, and every other kind of evil out there. When I think of this, I sometimes picture a dense forest at night, with thick fog. Then, lights from lamps begin to appear, one by one, until much of the forest is revealed, dispelling dark creatures into the far reaches of the trees.

Every hour in time is ordered by God. Every hour is “fateful.” Each moment is filled with potential energy. Through free will, we are able to determine in what direction that potential energy goes. We can spend our time bickering with one another and entertaining bitterness in our hearts; or we can ride into victory against all darkness with the Light of the World. He is mighty, He is faithful, and He is protecting us every moment.

What will you do in this fateful hour?


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