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  • Writer's pictureJames Grant

St. Patrick's Breastplate

St. Patrick's Day was on March 17, and with everything we have been facing, it seemed to pass by without much notice this year. St. Patrick was a fifth century Christian missionary to Ireland, and the prayer attributed to him, which is called St. Patrick's Breastplate, is one of my favorite prayers. I think the prayer is particularly appropriate during our current struggles.

The prayer is lengthy, so I will just quote a few sections. It begins this way:

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.

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.

The beginning of the prayer highlights our dependence on God and the strength we draw from what Christ accomplished. Then another section of the prayer continues to emphasize God's guidance:

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 shield to protect me, God's host to save me From snares of devils, From temptation of vices, From everyone who shall wish me ill,

afar and near.

Finally, near the end of the prayer, he concludes with this beautiful reflection on Christ. This is often the most quoted section of the prayer, and I would encourage you to make it your prayer during these stressful days:

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.

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