St. Patrick’s Breastplate

St. Patrick2

Today’s post is dedicated to the St. Patrick, Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland. Born a Briton, yet one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saint. St. Patrick pray for us!

Prayers, Confessio and Traditional Customs follow.

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Let us pray, especially today, with St. Patrick’s powerful prayer, St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also known as The Lorica of Saint Patrick. I have always experienced awe and gratitude at its incantation, especially after knowing its tradition: St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects from paganism to Christianity. The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle. Lorica means breastplate in Latin. The story of this prayer is that Patrick and his followers used this most beautiful prayer to protect themselves from the people who wanted to kill them as they travelled across Ireland. It is also called the Deer’s Cry (Fáed Fíada) because their enemies saw, not men, but deer!

Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness 
Of the Creator of creation. 

I arise today 
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism, 
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, 
Through the strength of His resurrection and 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 service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs, 
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men. 

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven; 
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, 
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the 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 hosts to save me 
From snares of the devil, 
From temptations of vices, 
From every one who desires me ill, 
Afar and anear, 
Alone or in a mulitude. 

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes 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 women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul. 
Christ shield me today 
Against poison, against burning, 
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

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 in the heart of every man who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, 
Christ in the eye that sees me, 
Christ in the ear that hears me. 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is of Christ.

May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

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The Book of Kells, detail The Lorica of St. Patrick

* For the whole Book of Kells, Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous and beautiful medieval manuscript, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables, free to view online, go here http://www.tcd.ie/Library/news/2013/03/book-of-kells-now-free-to-view-online/

Let us also prayerfully study today St. Patrick’s  most inspiring Confessio, a semi-autobiography, written as a labor for God, explaining the story of his life to inspire others to believe and turn their lives to God.

‘My name is Patrick…

I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many.

My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae.

His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner.

I was about sixteen at the time. …

Continue reading the words of St Patrick…

Read, listen and see more about Patrick and his heritage: a novel, his first biographies, Patrick in art, articles, audio and more special features.

Finally, let us explore some traditional St. Patrick’s Day customs, here, and here.

 

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