Thursday, March 17, 2011

I arise today through a mighty strength

This is the complete version of Saint Patrick's Breastplate, of which the penultimate strophe is the best-known.  It's a beautiful invocation of the Trinity against danger of every kind, though to the rigid modern mind it treads a little close to paganism; I'm not sure, for instance, what dangers were posed by smiths.
*******************************************
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.

I arise today through the strength of Christ 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 of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven;
light of Sun, brilliance 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 secure me:
against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that
may oppose my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry, against false laws of heretics,
against craft of idolatry,
against spells of witches, smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today against poisoning,
against burning, against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come abundance in 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 in breadth,
Christ in length,
Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man 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.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ.
May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.
Amen.

3 comments:

GretchenJoanna said...

Thank you very much! I love this, and I probably wouldn't have gotten around to looking it up myself. Blessings of the day!

Melanie B said...

I always loved the line about spells of "women, smiths, and druids". From what I remember of my Irish history class all three were seen by contemporary pagan culture as magic workers. Maybe it was by virtue of the kind of work they did that smiths were seen that way, transforming one thing into another, perhaps sort of in the same class as alchemists of a later era? Or perhaps Irish culture actually cast them in the role of magic worker?

Pentimento said...

That is interesting, Melanie, thanks!