St. Patrick’s Prayer

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Patrick is a saint I dearly love.  For those of you who don’t know anything about this fellow except that that he’s associated with Ireland and you should wear green on his feast day, you are missing out.  He had quite an extraordinary life, which you should read about sometime.  Here’s a short version.  As a boy, he was kidnapped from his home in Britain by Irish raiders and made into a slave.  His job was tending sheep on a cold hillside where he was rarely warm enough and rarely had enough to eat, and his only companions were the sheep in his care.  So, he explains in his book Confessions that God became his friend and his constant companion.  One day, he had a dream in which God told him to get up and go to the coast and catch a boat home.  And he did, and he made it home, but soon he began having dreams of Irish people begging him to come back to them to teach them about the Lord.  So Patrick studied to become a priest, although he had a lot of catching up to do with his education, which had been cut off by his kidnapping.  And after he was ordained, he got permission to go to Ireland, where he was a very successful missionary.  Of course, there’s more legend than truth about him, but the surviving documents that he wrote show him to be an extraordinarily compassionate person, and one who truly knew what it meant to trust the Lord.

This lovely prayer is attributed to St. Patrick, though it probably wasn’t written by him.  It always blesses me.

St. Patrick’s Breast Plate [Feath Fiada (The Deer’s Cry)] (if you’d like to listen)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of 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 hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions 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 lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through 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 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.
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