“Seeds of Grace” St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a prayer attributed to the saint whose feast day is vigorously celebrated on this day,  worldwide.  According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. praying for divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire, and his subjects, from paganism to Christianity.  The ‘breastplate’ refers to the armor of God about which Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Ephesus, chapter 6: “Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh…” The battle is not of earthly dimensions but is rather the fight against cosmic darkness, the spiritual forces of evil. This is not something from ‘long ago and far away’ but is well exemplified in the current news, most recently in the horrific murders in the mosques in New Zealand.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also known as The Lorica of Saint Patrick and The Cry of the Deer inspired Hymn  # 436  in Common Praise: “I Bind Unto Myself Today”. The following is the short version of the prayer itself:

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. Amen.