St. Patrick’s Breastplate ~ “Lorica of St. Patrick”

This is a repost seven years back.

Over twenty years ago, I was introduced to a prayer attributed to Saint Patrick. Having Irish ancestors, I had some basic knowledge about the Irish patron saint. But I was so moved by the prayer, I decided to do some more research on this iconic and legendary character.

Did you know that St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is not Irish? 

He was born in Roman Britain to aristocratic parents around 385 A.D. Even though his father was a deacon and other members of his family were clergy, the family was not particularly religious. At the age of sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates who took him to Ireland, probably around County Mayo, and sold him into slavery. While there he was assigned to tend sheep. It was during that period in relative isolation that his prayer life developed and he began to believe that his captivity may well have been part of God’s plan. He began to dream that he was to free the Irish people from their druid beliefs and to share the gospel of Christ with them. After six years, Patrick believed he heard from God that he was to escape and make his way back to Britain. When he had walked the two hundred miles to the Irish coast, God gave him another revelation; that he would return to Ireland as a missionary.

Window in Gloucester Cathedral of St Patrick being taught by St Germanus

He was reunited with his family in England briefly before departing for France where he would remain for fifteen years. In France, he entered the priesthood and studied under the missionary St. Germain. However, he never lost sight of his dream of returning to Ireland to spread “The Good News”.

Around 431, Patrick was consecrated Bishop of the Irish and returned to the island of his captivity.

 

While Patrick initially experienced some resistance, Patrick eventually convinced the Druids to abandon their belief system that kept them enslaved and convinced them to find freedom in Christ. He built up the church in Ireland, establishing monasteries and organizing the land into dioceses. Patrick died March 17, 461 in Saul, County Down, Ireland where he is said to be buried.

Did you know that St. Patrick did not introduce Christianity to Ireland?                                                 

He was not the first Christian missionary, but he was the most successful.

Did you know that St. Patrick did not chase the snakes out of Ireland? 

That’s the stuff of legends. However, if the snake is a symbol of paganism, St. Patrick can be credited as removing paganism from Ireland and converting it to Christianity.

Do you know what the association is between St. Patrick and the shamrock?      Shamrock 2 

St. Patrick used the shamrock, a common clover, as a metaphor to teach the Irish people about the Trinity.

Do you know when St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in the colonies?                                                 

St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated as a Catholic Holy Day in the U.S. in Boston in 1737. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not in Ireland, but in Boston in 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British army marched in New York to honor their Irish heritage.

 As the Irish migrated, more people became familiar with the remarkable story of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day remains a Holy Day in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant denominations. For many throughout the world, St. Patrick’s Day is a secular holiday, celebrated with parades, traditional Irish meals, and all sorts of festivities.

gold and green celtic cross

ST. PATRICK’S PRAYER

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.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of 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 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.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose 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 witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
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.

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