Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

I'm feeling a bit of writer's block right now. At some point I want to read and write a bit about Celtic Spirituality, but for now I thought I'd just post the Prayer of the Breastplate of St. Patrick, interspersed with some pictures from my first trip to Ireland. I was blessed with some rare, spectacular weather the first week I was there. "The sun was splitting the stones", as they say...

For my shield this day I call:
A mighty power:
The Holy Trinity!
Affirming threeness,
Confessing oneness,
In the making of all
Through love…

For my shield this day I call:
Christ’s power in his coming
and in his baptising,
Christ’s power in his dying
On the cross, his arising
from the tomb, his ascending;
Christ’s power in his coming
for judgment and ending.

For my shield this day I call:
strong power of the seraphim,
with angels obeying,
and archangels attending,
in the glorious company
of the holy and risen ones,
in the prayers of the fathers,
in visions prophetic
and commands apostolic,
in the annals of witness,
in virginal innocence,
in the deeds of steadfast men.

For my shield this day I call:
Heaven’s might,
Sun’s brightness,
Moon’s whiteness,
Fire’s glory,
Lightning’s swiftness,
Wind’s wildness,
Ocean’s depth,
Earth’s solidity,
Rock’s immobility.

This day I call to me:
God’s strength to direct me,
God’s power to sustain me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s vision to light me,
God’s ear to my hearing,
God’s word to my speaking,
God’s hand to uphold me,
God’s pathway before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s legions to save me:
from snares of the demons,
from evil enticements,
from failings of nature,
from one man or many
that seek to destroy me,
anear or afar.

Around me I gather
these forces to save
my soul and my body
from dark powers that assail me:
against false prophesyings,
against pagan devisings,
against heretical lying
and false gods all around me.
Against spells cast by women
by blacksmiths, by Druids,
against knowledge unlawful
that injures the body,
that injures the spirit.

Be Christ this day my strong protector;
against poison and burning,
against drowning and wounding,
through reward wide and plenty …

Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in heart of all who know me,
Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me.

For my shield this day I call
a mighty power:
the Holy Trinity!
affirming threeness,
confessing oneness
in the making of all -
through love…

For to the Lord belongs salvation,
and to the Lord belongs salvation
and to Christ belongs salvation.

May your salvation, Lord, be
with us always.
(Domini est salus, Domini est salus,
Christi est salus;
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum).


Paula said...

Jeff, i had a full week, quite hectic and tough and this wonderful celtic prayer felt so nourishing...:-)...reading your blog, and all the others (Crystal, the friar minor, Don etc) feels like coming home to me.:-)

Liam said...

Jeff, that's my favorite prayer and I'm glad you put in the whole bit -- it's often abridged. Lovely pictures too. I recognize the cliffs of Mohr and the ruins of the church at Cashel. Where are the mountains from? Kerry?


Jeff said...

Hi Paula. :-) Thanks for dropping in. I had a pretty wild week too. I've noticed you've had less chance to blog since you've been back. One thing I've noticed when I've gone away on vacation is that nobody offers to pick up all of that work for me while I'm gone. :-) I'm glad you enjoyed the prayer.

Jeff said...

Hey Liam,

Its a great prayer isn't it? Have you ever been over there? Most of those photos were taken in the southwest.

The first two are of the Cliffs of Moher (or, as they are called in the movie The Princess Bride, "The Clifths of Insanity!").

The third was taken somewhere near the coast on the Ring of Kerry. I can't remember if it was Portagee, Valentia Harbor, or the Skelligs.

Photos four and five are also from the Ring of Kerry.

Number six is near Sneem.

Number seven shows the Lakes of Killarney.

Photos eight through ten are of the Gap of Dunloe.

The last two are from the Rock of Cashel, in Co. Tipperary.

Crescentius said...


I love the pictures! May God's power rest on us and shield us.


Jeff said...

Amen, Crescentius. Good to see you again.

I was very fortunate to have that kind of weather. A lot of people wait a lifetime for that kind of trip, and can't see 10 feet in front of them due to the fog.

joe said...

thanks for this post Jeff. Felt nice just to read it being wrapped warm in a familiar blanket weaved with beautiful celtic views and the mystical, magical words of a prayer. God bless!

Jeff said...

Thanks Joe. They're places known very well to you, I'm sure.

BTW, we just came back from one of Brendan's football games over at Memorial Field in Needham. Brought back old memories.

God Bless

Liam said...

Jeff, yes, I've been to Ireland three or four times. I have relatives in Donegal and Waterford. I think I've been in all the places you have photos of.

I haven't been there for about six or seven years. Apparently it's changed quite a bit now that it's a wealthy and multicultural country.

crystal said...

Beautiful photos, Jeff! I envy you - I've never been to Ireland.

I would have commented sooner, but sometimes my browser doesn't refresh the pages, and I didn't see this post until today.

Jeff said...

Hi Liam and Crystal,

Those pictures were taken 16 years ago. I can't imagine the extent to which Ireland has changed since. When I was there, unemployment was near an all time high. I'm sure those views are still preseerved, though.


Have you ever been to Scotland? I would imagine the landscape is very similar.