Prayer / Prayers

The Mighty Breastplate of St. Patrick

selfdrive_st_patrickSt. Patrick is one of the most well-known saints in Christendom, and he left an indelible stamp on the Church despite the fact that we know very little about his life. In addition to being the missionary who almost single handedly converted Ireland, and being the man who permanently ridded the Emerald Isle of snakes, St. Patrick also happens to be the author of what is perhaps the manliest prayer the Church has ever seen—the “Lorica” or “breastplate” of St. Patrick.

This powerful, and quite beautiful, prayer can be said each morning, and it is recommended that it be prayed with Psalm 5, though this is optional. If you face “burning,” “wounding,” or “spells of women and smiths and wizards,” on a daily basis, this prayer is an absolute must.

Lorica of Saint Patrick

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 preachings of the apostles,
In faiths 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 anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

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.

PS: Ireland is in need of many prayers. The faith is heavily under attack, and massive cultural changes are underway, including the recent legalization of abortion. St. Patrick, pray for us and for Ireland. 

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14 thoughts on “The Mighty Breastplate of St. Patrick

  1. Wow! I looked for this for so long about a year ago and couldn’t find it. I am SO glad you posted this, added to my morning prayers. Thanks a lot?

  2. Great prayer – one of my favourites. One of my favourite composers, Arvo Part, set the penultimate stanza (not sure if that’s the correct terminology in this context, but nevermind!) of the Breastplate to a chant with harmonies built around it (entitled The Deer’s Cry) – it’s beautiful. Here is the youtube link to a performance of it:

  3. I’ve always found St. Patrick’s Rune to be all the more edifying:

    At Tara in this fateful hour,
    I call on heaven with all its power,
    And the sun with its brightness,
    And the snow with its whiteness,
    And the fire with all the strength it hath,
    And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
    And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
    And the sea with its deepness,
    And the rocks with their steepness,
    And the earth with its starkness,

    All these I place,
    By God’s Almighty help and grace,
    Between myself and the powers of Darkness!

  4. I prayed this prayer several times before. But because of my Montfort Marian Spirituality, I stopped praying it for I have now the Little Crown of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Anyhow, it’s a great prayer indeed. I actually wrote it down on a note of mine out of a Lives of the Saints that we have here in our home.

  5. Hi Sam. This is indeed a wonderful prayer which deserves to be widely used. However, scholars now agree that St Patrick is not its author (it is from the 8th century, 300 years after his time). There were never snakes in Ireland. He did not convert Ireland almost single-handedly: his apostolate was mainly in the north and many successors continued the work he had initiated. The Church has nothing to fear from the truth, and truth needs to take the place of these sorts of legend. Richard Fletcher disentangles myth and history and sums up St Patrick’s achievement achievement very well in The Conversion of Europe (1997), 82 ff.

  6. I absolutely love reading The Catholic Gentleman! I am posting this prayer so we can say it daily. Keep up the good work!

  7. Pingback: Praying the Hours – a key to stability « Monk and Bard.com

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