Over the past few years, I have enjoyed reading much about Celtic Christianity.  While I have been intrigued with a great deal of the Irish saints, there is none the equal to Patrick.

He was born into a Christian household off the coast of Britain, but wanted nothing to do with his family’s religion.  It is said he didn’t even believe in God.  Then, at the age of 16, he was captured by some Irish raiders and transported to Ireland where he was forced into slavery for six years.  It was there – lonely and ill clad – that he began to hear God calling to him and eventually gave his life to Christ.  It is also here, out in the fields, that he learned to pray and listen to God.  At the end of six years he heard a Voice saying, “Your hungers are rewarded; you are going home.  Look, your ship is ready.”

He escaped, a runaway slave, and walked for over 200 miles.  When he reached the coast, there was a ship there waiting to take him to the continent.  He finally made it home.

After a duration of time, he had a dream in which a person named Victoricus came to him with a pile of letters.  Patrick picked one up and read “The Voice of the Irish”.  At the same time he heard Irish voices crying out to him saying, “We beg you to come and walk among us once more.”  As Patrick awoke, he knew he was to return to the land of his captors – this time in the name of Christ.

There is much to be read about Patrick but one thing is certain he LOVED the Irish people.  Of course, he wanted to bring Christ to them, but he came to them as a friend and a reconciler.  He moved in and among them and won their affections and eventually won many of them for Christ.

Here is a prayer attributed to Patrick known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” (because of those parts of it which seek God’s protection).

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through the 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 Day.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance 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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of demons,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel 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 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.