The Breastplate of St. Patrick

Green_Celtic_Cross_by_dashinvaineToday is St. Patrick’s Day! It commemorates the day that Patrick is believed to have died in the 5th century – but it’s more than just a day to wear green and celebrate all things Irish.

In many ways, Patrick was the first missionary. Yes, I know Paul traveled a lot and started a lot of churches, but in terms of somebody who went somewhere and stayed and invested his entire life in reaching a particular people group, as far as we know, Patrick was the first guy to do that.

He was probably born in Scotland as a Roman citizen, but he was kidnapped as a young teenager by Irish pirates who took him back to Ireland. Eventually, he escaped, but became convinced of a calling to return to Erie and bring them the gospel. And he did.

If you want to know THAT story, read “How the Irish Saved Civilization.” It’s a great book.

I didn’t mean to write about Patrick today, really – all I wanted to do was share the prayer that he wrote, but I wanted to give just a word of introduction. The prayer is known by several names, including St. Patrick’s Breastplate, and The Cry of the Deer. I love it for how Christ-centered it is, and how well it reminds us that we can, and should, be drawn closer to God not only by reading His word or being in church, but also by finding the Creator through what He has made. I especially like the part that asks that every eye that sees me, every ear that hears me, for everyone who encounters me, that they not see, hear, or encounter me, but see, hear and encounter Jesus.

Yes, please. Amen.

The Lorica (Breastplate)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ 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 decent for the Judgement of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim
In obedience to the Angels,
In the service of the Archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of Holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun
Brilliance 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 host to secure me
against snares of devils
against temptations of vices
against inclinations of nature
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd.

A summon today all these powers between me and these evils
Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of heathenry,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that endangers man’s body and soul.

Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning,
against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come 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 where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man 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 Thrones,
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of Christ
May thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

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