St Patrick was active as a missionary in Ireland in the second half of the fifth century. Tradition credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older, but definitely much older is the prayer usually known as “St Patrick’s Breastplate” or “The Deer’s Cry”. Modern scholars believe it to date from at least the eighth century, possibly much older, and therefore maybe going back to Patrick himself as tradition says. We know it from various translations and hymns, and on this Trinity Sunday here is an abridged version of this beautiful prayer.
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 see 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 and vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me
ill, afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd…
Christ, be 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 where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise, 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. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.