From Be Thou My Breastplate, by Paul Wallis
May the coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head. (Fursa’s Breastplate)
It is in my head that obedience to Christ must now begin. To obey the Savior means to obey the words of his teaching in the Holy Scriptures. It was part of Fursa’s daily life to hold these very words in his head. It was to the Scriptures above all that the Celtic monk devoted the work of his memory.
A portion of Fursa’s every day was spent reading the Scriptures aloud and copying them out. It was also part of his daily worship to recite the Scriptures from memory. This is a powerful exercise even today. Every week pupils learned to read and write with Fursa and his brothers as their tutors and the Holy Scriptures as their texts. The first Psalm declares that the man is blessed who meditates on God’s laws day and night. This was the very keynote of Fursa’s life.
Yet the words of prophets, apostles, and of the world of God himself are not recorded for memory’s sake only. They were written to teach the believer what to believe and how to understand the world around us; realities both seen and unseen. These God-breathed words give me the insight and godly values that are to inform my daily decisions. The Apostle Paul wrote that it is only when I permit this “renewal of my mind” that I will find myself transformed.
Fursa’s prayer reminds me today that I must be willing to yield my mind to Christ. If I find a difference between my own opinions and the wisdom of the Lord himself, it is his wisdom that I must prefer.
Jesus told his disciples, “When the Spirit of Truth comes he will remain with you and remind you of all I have said. He will speak to you for me. He will convict of sin and guilt. He will guide you into all truth.”
This means that both remembering Christ’s words in Scripture and following them are matters of heavenly cooperation between the believer’s mind and the work of the Holy Spirit. In yielding my head to this Holy Spirit I am really inviting this partnership. I am invoking this experience of divine guidance, offering my memory and the very course of my life to his truth.
Only gradually can I understand the implications of this submission to the counsel of the Holy Spirit. That is why Fursa bids me to invite this action daily.
Heavenly Father, for knowing the truth, for a transformed life, for guidance, and the ability to remember Christ’s eternal words, “may the coming of the Holy Spirit be on this head.”