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BREASTPLATE OF ST. PATRICK

An ancient Irish hymn attributed to St. Patrick (389-461); certainly the Canticum Scoticum, mentioned in the Book Armagh as current before the ninth century. The original text survives in three ancient manuscripts. It was first published in English translation in 1839. A familiar version reads: "I bind to myself today the virtue of obedience of the angels, in the hope of the resurrection unto reward; in the preachings of the apostles, in the faith of confessors, in the purity of holy virgins, in the deeds of righteous men.

"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 shield to shelter me against the seductions of sin.

"I invoke today all these virtues against every hostile power which may assail my body and soul, against the cries of false prophets, against the black laws of heathenism, against the deceits of idolatry, against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

"Christ, protect me today against an untimely death that I may receive abundant reward. Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ behind me. Christ within me. Christ with the soldier. Christ with the traveler. Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me. Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me. Praise to the Lord of my salvation. Salvation in Christ the Lord."

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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