Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Feast of Saint Patrick ~ and the Breastplate

SAINT PATRICK, who was born about 385 in the British Isles, was carried off while still very young during a raid on England by the Irish and sold as a slave. At the end of six years he managed to escape to Europe., became a monk and was ordained a priest; he then returned to Ireland to preach the Gospel. During the thirty years that his missionary labors continued he covered the Island with churches and monasteries. St. Patrick died in 461. After fifteen centuries he remains for all the Irish the great bishop whom they venerate as their father in faith.

Patrick founded his first stone church in Ireland n the site now occupied by Saint Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, known as Sally Hill, in the year 445. The Book of Armagh relates a beautiful tradition  that when St. Patrick took possession of Sally Hill a deer with her fawn leaped from the bushes. His companions wanted to catch and kill the fawn but the Saint would not allow them. He himself took the fawn on his shoulders and carried it, followed by its mother, to Sandy Hill, the site of the present Cathedral. The incident has been fondly seen as an echo of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

The prayer here, attributed to Patrick, is called Saint Patrick's Breastplate. A breastplate being a piece of armor, the prayer is one of protection against the things, visible and invisible, that threaten, menace and tempt.

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 today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan River,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced 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 cherubim;
The sweet 'Well done' in judgement 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 star-lit 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, the poisoned arrow,
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.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


  1. Thank you for this lesser known account of a most famous saint. This prayer is a reminder that there is more to this Feast Day than wearing green and waving banners at a parade. Happy St. Patrick's Day Father Morris!

  2. And Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you and all the folks who follow this blog.

  3. If one really take the time to reflect upon this prayer, they can't help but feel they are wearing the shielding breastplate themselves. God will be with me and God will protect me if I invoke his help and praise His name.

    1. I gave the Breastplate to my sister to pray every day while she worked at an upscale Manhattan clothier where the clientele could be condescending, demanding and aggressive. It's a good prayer.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. Your family must feel so blessed to have you as their spiritual guide. Although I understand the concept of a breastplate in terms of armor, I did not know it was a specific type of prayer for protection. From Cara