Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Some of my favorite books have called to me from the noisy din of The Goodwill Store. The Celtic Way of Prayer: the Recovery of the Religious Imagination by Esther de Waal is one of those gems read and reread, underlined and thoroughly marked up, and never too far from reach.

It seems fitting on St. Paddy’s Day to pull a prayer from this volume which is a modern translation of “The Deer’s Cry” said to be written in the 8th century but attributed to St. Patrick. Called to face the high-king, St. Patrick set out on his journey chanting prayers for protection. When the high-king laid ambush all he found was a group of deer with a fawn following them, hence the colloquial name.


There is another name for this prayer, St. Patrick’s Breastplate, or lorica, which is an ancient form of prayer for protection. Not a bad thing to pray in our crazy, mixed-up, world of 2014 where an airplane full of innocent travelers has just disappeared off the planet and a country has voted to reunite in a forced election where troupes stand poised to violate their borders.

For my shield this day 
The Holy Trinity!
Affirming threeness, Confessing oneness,
In the making of all 
Through love…

For my shield this day I call:
Christ’s power in this coming
and in his baptizing,
Christ’s power in his dying
On the cross, his arising
from the tomb, his ascending;
Christ’s power in his coming
for judgment and ending.

For my shield this day I call:
strong power of the seraphim,
with angels obeying,
and archangels attending,
in the glorious company
of the holy and risen ones,
in the prayers of the fathers,
in visions prophetic
and commands apostolic,
in annals of witness,
in virginal innocence,
to the deeds of steadfast men.

For my shield this day I call”
Heaven’s might,
Moon’s whiteness,
Fire’s glory,
Lightning’s swiftness,

Wind’s wildnes,s
Ocean’s depth,
Earth’s solidity,

Rock’s immobility.

This day I call to me;
God’s strength to direct me,
God’s power to sustain me.
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s vision to light me,
God’s ear to my hearing,
God’s word to my speaking,
God’s hand to uphold me,
God’s pathway before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s legions to save me:
from snares of the demons,
from evil enticements,
from failings of nature,
from one man or many
that seek to destroy me,
anear or afar.

Be Christ this day my strong protector:
against poison and burning
against drowning and wounding,
though reward wide and plenty . . .
Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my siting, my rising;
Christ in heart of all who know me,
Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me.

For my shield this day I call:
a mighty power;
the Holy Trinity!
affirming threeness,
confessing oneness
in the making of all–through love . . .

For to the Lord belongs salvation,
and to the Lord belongs salvation
and to Christ belongs salvation.

May your salvation, Lord, be
with us always. . .

May you walk shielded in the breastplate of righteousness today.

Marlee Huber ~ For Your Flourishing Life!

This translation is by Neil Dermott O’Donoghue, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” in James P. Mackey (ed.), An Introduction to Celtic Christianity (T & T Clark, 1989), pp. 45-64.

About Your Flourishing Life

As a child, Marlee Huber loved to ramble through gardens sampling juicy berries and delighting in the heady fragrance of roses. As an adult, she thrills at maintaining a country garden in the foothills of the Washington Cascades. Something happened in 2012 that changed everything for Marlee. She followed the love of her life as he bicycled across the continent from their home in the NW to his brother's home in the Virginia. Ninety days later she came home and has never been the same. After photographing the backroads and hamlets across America--all on auto, she came home and took an online photography course, read dozens of books on technique and vision and stepped out into a new career. Her passion is coaching young people to discover their brilliance. She calls it Life-Themes Coaching and during one nearly half-day session, she unpacks what makes you brilliant and one of a kind. Then she matches the discoveries with a photography session where she tells the story of your life with her camera. In her personal life, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother delighting in her flourishing family!
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