Cross Words: St. Patrick’s Breastplate by Fr. Rick Cross

        W                                  The Feast of St. Patrick, 2020

C R O S S 



      St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Dear Friends,

During this rather unsettling and worrisome time in our lives, we have the great gift and consolation of our Patron Saint’s Lyrica (shield) to bring us  renewed focus on our faith and tradition. We have sung one version of these words many times from our Hymnal. They were sung as I signed the Book in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd during Matriculation at General Seminary, where one leg of my own journey began.

How a propos  they sound today as we experience a new threat of sorts to our local and global communities. While we cannot gather physically to sing the hymn this year, we can pray the words together in solidarity with sisters and brothers in the Body wherever we are. We may be learning a new and potentially deeper way of living in community, infused and energized by the Spirit who surprises and points our new life, way out ahead of our wildest dreams!

I suggest taking some dedicated quality time to read , especially the bolded refrain, slowly several times. You may want to copy it for your bathroom mirror or refrigerator. You might even want to sketch a decorative border, using the knotted Celtic forms of the cross? But then, call or email or (do I dare to suggest?) writing a letter to a friend or family member or neighbor with the refrain, changing the word “me” to “you.” It is a way of sharing our Patronal heritage and love with others, creating the circle of the Spirit’s dance ever wider and more inclusive.

We are not alone, quarantined  or not! Let us touch base with the source of our hope through continuing to draw strength from dear Patrick. Happy feast!


Shalom, Rick


Modern English translation

The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:[7]  in Wikipedia

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgment Day.
I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.
I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.
I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.
Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.


Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop deck,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe. AMEN.