St. Patrick

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. For most people it is a day to drink too much beer and eat corned beef and cabbage…whether or not they actually like corned beef and cabbage. I’ve never quite gotten into the festivities of the day.

Nor do I really know a whole lot about St. Patrick, except that he turned to God when he was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave as a teenager. He returned home after being freed at the age of 20, but subsequently had a dream in which he heard the people Ireland calling to him to “come and walk among us once more.” He ordained to the priesthood and, after becoming a bishop, did return to preach the Gospel in Ireland.

I have always loved the prayer of St. Patrick that sometimes referred to as St. Patrick’s “Breastplate Prayer.” I have seen several versions of it. This is the one that speaks to me and thought it might be a good one to pray today:

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
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
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 everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.


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