St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Actually, it’s technically the feast day of St. Patrick. From Catholic Online, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was actually born in Roman Britain, but was captured by Irish pirates. He was taken to Ireland where he was a slave – working as a shepherd. Patrick was held captive in a land of pagans until he was about 20. 

After returning home, he had dreams & visions about returning to Ireland as a missionary. Patrick did just that. Of course, there’s now differing legends about what happened after he returned to Ireland. He did preach & convert pagans in Ireland for 40 years. March 17 is the anniversary of his death.

Patrick loved God with all of his heart, mind, & soul. He wrote about it. One of his poems, The Breastplate prayer, is one that all Christians have come to know. 


This is just a portion of this prayer. I think it’s quite evident that St. Patrick wholly loved God. He even used the Shamrock to explain the idea of the Trinity.

While I am not Catholic or Irish, I believe we should celebrate the life of St. Patrick – not necessarily in our ways of partying and drinking. However, St. Patrick is such a great example of someone who loved God wholly.  He wanted to be bound to Christ. 

Here’s the whole St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer:

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.


As we celebrate this day by wearing green and pretending to be Irish (unless you are Irish then you’re not pretending), let’s also remember the example that St. Patrick left for us. He loved God with his whole being and his ministry was evident of that.

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