St. Patrick’s Chainmail

It’s been a while, dear readers. (For Lent, I gave up my excessive ‘screen time’ during the weekends and added some reading to my prayer regimen.) But I’m back today because I thought, what a shame it’d be if I didn’t share a bit about this…

stpatrickYou’ve probably heard of a prayer called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” or “St. Patrick’s Shield.” These are all nice little translations of the real deal, St. Patrick’s Lorica, which I prefer to translate as ‘chainmail.’ (Think of Frodo’s Mithril in the Lord of the Rings.) Lorica is also the word used in Latin to refer to prayers for protection.

Why write an entire blog post about why you should start referring to this prayer as St. Patrick’s Chainmail? Well, I’ve got lots of Irish blood (Erin Go Bragh!) via County Cork at the Isle’s southern end. St. Patty’s Day always reminds me of my Irish ancestry, and my beloved deceased on that side of the family, who passed along their Catholic faith to me so fervently, lovingly, and joyfully.

I propose that we start referring to this popular prayer as St. Patrick’s Chainmail because unlike a breastplate, it is an unseen yet strong defense. It’s made of many metal coils liked together, so much like the many elements of our faith and members of the Body of Christ, all joined together. Chainmail is more like a shirt; fitting more closely to the wearer’s shape. It reminds me of St. Paul’s words to the Galatians,

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (3:27)

So, what do you say? Let’s wear this prayer. Thanks be to the Blessed Trinity for St. Patrick’s courageous return to his country of enslavement, so that today I can profess with him,

I was like a stone lying deep in the mud. Then he who is powerful came and in his mercy pulled me out, and lifted me up and placed me on the very top of the wall. That is why I must shout aloud in return to the Lord for such great good deeds of his, here and now and forever, which the human mind cannot measure.

St. Patrick’s Lorica

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity
Through belief in the threeness
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the creator.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ 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 decent for the Judgement of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim
In obedience to the Angels,
In the service of the Archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of Holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun
Brilliance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
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 way to lie before me,
God’s host to secure me
against snares of devils
against temptations of vices
against inclinations of nature
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd.

A summon today all these powers between me and these evils
Against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of heathenry,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that endangers man’s body and soul.

Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning,
against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come 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 where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man 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 Thrones,
Through confession of the Oneness
Towards the Creator.

Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of the Lord
Salvation is of Christ
May thy salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Amen!

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