March 17 (St. Patrick)

Jeremiah 11:18–20
John 7:37–52
Psalm 7:6–11

“God is my shield and defense; he is the savior of the true in heart.” – Psalm 7:11

When I was writing my Senior Seminar paper in college, my subject was Celtic Christianity with a focus on how the Celtic saints like St. Patrick converted Ireland from paganism. One of the more fun legends I read about centered around his conversion of the pagan king Leoghaire. According to legend, the king sent henchmen to try and kill Patrick who was on his way to Slane to meet with Leoghaire, but the henchmen failed because Patrick passed by them in the form of a deer.

Why does this fit in with the verse I quoted above? Well, the prayer he allegedly prayed while avoiding these henchmen is called the “Breastplate of St. Patrick”, also known as “The Cry of the Deer”. (The full version can be found here.)

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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

-Jen McCabe

Bonus: There is a beautiful hymn based on the prayer which can be found below.