celtic-cross-66709_640There is something about St. Patrick that is breathtaking. No, it is not a shamrock, although the meaning behind the shamrock has something to do with it. If you would ask someone what St. Patrick’s Day is all about, they would probably say “shamrocks” or “Ireland” or “St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland forever.” I’m not saying those things aren’t a part of it. They are. Still, there is something else, something so beautiful that it takes my breath away.

Perhaps part of it is based in the incredible story of St. Patrick, who as an 16-year old lad from England was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland where he saw the ancient Druid worship. Seven years later he was able to escape as a teenager. Patrick had a true “call” from God and he knew it and followed it. He became a Catholic priest and was eventually sent back to Ireland to convert it to Christianity.

After Patrick became a bishop, with great missionary zeal coupled with a tremendous love for the Irish people, Patrick, who held no anger or revenge within his heart for his previous captors, brought the good news of the Gospel to Ireland.

What is so breathtaking is his relationship with God, his understanding of the spirituality of the Gospel, and his wonderful, poignant, intimate prayers to God. Patrick understood, as St. Francis did, the beauty of creation as a reflection of the beauty of God. It is St. Patrick’s poems and prayers that take my breath away.

So, St. Patrick lived in the 400s A.D. Since that time Irish missionaries have ventured throughout the world. Here in southern California where we have our Carmelite motherhouse, it was the Irish missionaries who were most of the original pastors, bishops and cardinals. When I was a child in Catholic school here, we got a holiday on St. Patrick’s Day.

Here are some of my favorite prayers of St. Patrick. After you pray these prayers, you feel like you have really prayed! May they take your breath away!

 

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

 

I bind unto myself today

The strong Name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

 

I bind this day to me for ever.

By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan river;

His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spicèd tomb;

His riding up the heavenly way;

His coming at the day of doom;*

I bind unto myself today.

 

I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of the cherubim;

The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,

The service of the seraphim,

Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,

The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,

All good deeds done unto the Lord,

And purity of virgin souls.

 

I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,

The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,

The flashing of the lightning free,

The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

The stable earth, the deep salt sea,

Around the old eternal rocks.

 

I bind unto myself today

The power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need.

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward,

The word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.

 

Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,

The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile men that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,

In every place and in all hours,

Against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.

 

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,

Against false words of heresy,

Against the knowledge that defiles,

Against the heart’s idolatry,

Against the wizard’s evil craft,

Against the death wound and the burning,

The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,

Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

 

Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort 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 and stranger.

 

I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong Name of the Trinity;

By invocation of the same.

The Three in One, and One in Three,

Of Whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

 

The Prayer of St. Patrick (Sometimes also called The Lorica of St. Patrick — from around the year AD 377)

 

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.

 

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection and 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 obedience of angels,

In service of archangels,

In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In the prayers of patriarchs,

In preaching of the apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

 

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

From snares of the devil,

From temptations of vices,

From every one who desires me ill,

Afar and near,

Alone or in a multitude.

 

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,

Against every cruel merciless power that opposes 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 women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that reward may come to me in abundance.

 

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 every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me.

 

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through a belief in the Threeness,

Through a confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of creation.