A Shield for Divine Protection.

We are living in strange times.  It is Covid-19 time.  It is a Time of Lockdown and reaching out; a time of fear and isolation; a time of panic buying and sickness; a time of listening and responding; a time to look out for the neglected; a time for prayer and reflection; a time to seek God’s protection; a time for Love.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate is a popular prayer attributed to one of Ireland’s most beloved patron saints. It is a shield for Divine Protection and can well be called upon today in this our time of need. According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote it in 433 A.D. for Divine protection before successfully converting the Irish King Leoghaire and his subjects to Christianity. The term breastplate refers to a piece of armor worn in battle.

Each verse of the prayer begins “Atomruig indiu” “I arise today” or “I bind unto myself today” and this phrase is repeated at the beginning of most of the verses. This is followed by a list of sources of strength that the prayer calls on for support.

The first verse invokes the Trinity.

The second verse invokes Christ’s baptism, death, resurrection, ascension and future return on the last day.

The third verse invokes the virtues of angels, patriarchs, saints and martyrs.

The fourth verse the virtues of the natural world: the sun, moon, fire, lightning etc.

The fifth verse invokes various aspects of God – his wisdom, his eye, his ear, his hand

The sixth verse lists the things against which protection is required – against snares of devils, temptations of nature, those who wish ill

This list of things against which protection is required continues in the next verse – false prophets, heathens, heretics, wizards, druids, smiths (gobann).

The next verse calls for Christ to be in all things – Christ in me, all around me, in the eye and ear and mouth of the people I meet.

The last verse returns to the theme of the Trinity.

Here are the beautiful words of the 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 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 every knowledge that corrupts one’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 everone 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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