From the Golden Legend:
On a time as Saint Patrick preached in Ireland the faith of Jesu Christ, and did but little profit by his predication, for he could not convert the evil, rude and wild people, he prayed to our Lord Jesu Christ that he would show them some sign openly, fearful and ghastful, by which they might be converted and be repentant of their sins. Then, by the commandment of God, Saint Patrick made in the earth a great circle with his staff, and anon the earth after the quantity of the circle opened and there appeared a great pit and a deep, and Saint Patrick by the revelation of God understood that there was a place of purgatory, in to which whomsoever entered therein he should never have other penance ne feel none other pain, and there was showed to him that many should enter which should never return ne come again. And they that should return should abide but from one morn to another, and no more, and many entered that came not again. As touching this pit or hole which is named Saint Patrick’s purgatory, some hold opinion that the second Patrick, which was an abbot and no bishop, that God showed to him this place of purgatory; but certainly such a place there is in Ireland wherein many men have been, and yet daily go in and come again, and some have had there marvellous visions and seen grisly and horrible pains, of whom there be books made as of Tundale and others.
Every Lord and Lady of Lepanto should have the guts to make a real retreat:
The classic Lough Derg Pilgrimage lasts for three days. The pilgrim undertakes to begin fasting at midnight on the first day and travels to the island by boat during that morning. Once there, they remove all footwear – for the pilgrimage is undertaken barefoot.
The pilgrim then begins a series of “Stations” – a series of prayers – gestures – walking – kneeling – all conducted in silence. During the course of the three days, the pilgrim will complete nine Stations. Part of the Stations involves walking around the “beds” dedicated to various saints – Brigid, Brendan, Catherine. Columba, Patrick, Davog and Molaise. These may have been part of cells built and used by early monks.
The Pilgrimage requires great frugality in eating and drinking – only one meal of black tea or coffee and dry toast is permitted on each day. Even when the pilgrim departs, they commit themselves to continue the fast until midnight that day.
A further exercise is to undertake an all-night Vigil of prayer – repeating the Stations. It goes without saying that one does not “catch up” on the lost sleep the next day!
Saint Patrick is said to have had the practice of reciting all 150 psalms with his feet in icy water to keep himself awake.
So everybody say your prayers and stop whimpering. For instance, may I suggest this manly man one, St. Patrick’s Breastplate?
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel 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 lie 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 belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.