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Pray the Lorica of St. Patrick • Prayers for Catholic Kids

 

Introduce your kids to the Seven Penitential Psalms during your family prayer this Lent.

 

The prayer that is known variously as the Prayer of St. Patrick, the Breastplate of St. Patrick, the Lorica of St. Patrick, The Deer’s Cry, or I Bind Unto Myself Today (among other titles) may or may not have originated with St. Patrick. Legend says that he and his monks sang this lorica to protect themselves against an ambush while traveling to Tara. A lorica, by the way, is a monastic hymn invoking the protection of God.

Regardless of its origins, it’s a fun prayer to pray on St. Patrick’s Day—or any day that your kids are feeling like they need to be strengthened by God.

In its original form, the prayer follows a theological structure that Wikipedia describes this way:

 

Each verse of the prayer begins “Atomruig indiu” “I arise today” or “I bind unto myself today” and this phrase is repeated at the beginning of most of the verses. This is followed by a list of sources of strength that the prayer calls on for support.

The first verse invokes the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity.

The second verse invokes Christ’s baptism, death, resurrection, ascension and future return on the last day.

The third verse invokes the angels, patriarchs, saints and martyrs.

The fourth verse the natural world: the sun, moon, fire, lightning etc.

The fifth verse invokes various aspects of God – his wisdom, his eye, his ear, his hand

The sixth verse lists the things against which protection is required – against snares of devils, temptations of nature, those who wish ill

This list of things against which protection is required continues in the next verse – false prophets, heathens, heretics, women, druids (druad), smiths (gobann).

The next verse calls for Christ to be in all things – Christ in me, all around me, in the eye and ear and mouth of the people I meet.

the last verse returns to the theme of the Trinity.

 

The prayer has been adapted into various forms over the years. Below, you’ll find three different adaptations to try with your kids.

 

The Lorica of St. Patrick adapted for children

The following adaptation of the Lorica of St. Patrick is taken from the children’s picture book, Paddy and the Wolves: A Story of St. Patrick as a Young Boy.

 

I wake up today with
Jesus before me,
Jesus behind me,
Jesus beneath me,
Jesus above me, and
Jesus with me all day long.

I begin today with
Jesus in the eyes of everyone around me,
Jesus in the ears of everyone around me,
Jesus in the mouths of everyone around me,
and Jesus in the hearts of everyone around me.

I thank God all day long for
the red fire,
the soft wind,
the green earth,
the deep sea,
the white clouds,
the tall mountains,
the blue sky,
the yellow sun,
the silver moon,
the bright stars, and
the loveliness of heaven.

 

Traditional Catholic adaptation of The Lorica of St. Patrick

 

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.

 

Literal translation of St. Patrick’s Lorica in modern English

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 Judgement 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 women, and smiths, and druids,
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.

 

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