Friday, March 16, 2012

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

March 17th, Feast of St. Patrick

St. Patrick, though born in Scotland, is the Patron Saint of Ireland. At the young of sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates and taken to the land of the pagan druids. During his six years of slavery, St. Patrick learned the Celtic language as well as many of the details of the druidic religion and culture. This would serve him well when he returned to convert the land to the true Faith.

After escaping from slavery, St. Patrick went to England and there studied for the priesthood. Being ordained a bishop, St. Patrick requested of Pope Celestine I that he be sent back to Ireland, this time not as a slave but as an Apostle! Returning to pagan Ireland, St. Patrick preached the Gospel throughout the land.

St. Patrick’s “Lorica” [i.e. Deer Cry] or “Breastplate” refers to the prayer for divine protection which St. Patrick offered in preparation for his participation in the victory of Christ over paganism in Ireland.

The Breast-plate of St. Patrick

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

The popularized form of the prayer

St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer has spread most popularly in the shortened form including only the penultimate stanza:

Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christ beside me, Christ to win me
Christ to comfort me and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend or stranger.

This prayer (especially in the longer-form) is a powerful protection against all diabolical influences. Especially in our own day, as the New Age Movement grows and there is a great fascination with paganism and even the druidic religion, we must continually keep our hearts and minds focused on Christ who conquers all.  

Only the love of the Most Blessed Trinity can bring true peace to our world.

St. Patrick, Pray for us!


Patricius said...

Father, May I ask upon what basis you claim that St Patrick was born in Scotland?
I understood that he was British and have heard Welsh people claim that he was born in the part of Britain now called Wales while others have claimed that he came from Somerset in the (now) English West Country. He is my patron saint and, being half English and half Irish with some Welsh- but no Scottish- connections I am alarmed at the thought that I may have got him all wrong!

Father Ryan Erlenbush said...

Both Butler's Lives of the Saints and the Catholic Encyclopedia state that St. Patrick was born near Kilpatrick, Scotland.

I have read somewhere that he was taken prisoner from Wales.

In any case, he does call himself a "Briton".

Hope that helps! +

Clinton R. said...

Oh how so many foolishly 'celebrate' the Feast Day of St. Patrick by going to nearest watering hole and indulging in their vices. St. Patrick was a model of Christian virtue. How sad how far the Church in Ireland has fallen. May St. Patrick pray for us and for the Holy Catholic Church.

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