A St. Patrick's Day greeting (I hope that I'm not overstepping my bounds)

Saint Patrick's Breastplate Prayer:

I bind unto myself today
The strong power of the invocation of the Trinity:
The faith of the Trinity in the unity
The Creator of the elements.

I bind unto myself today
The power of the Incarnation of Christ, with that of his baptism
The power of the crucifixion with that of his burial
The power of the resurrection, with the ascension
The power of the coming of the sentence of judgement.

I bind unto myself today
The power of the love of seraphim
In the obedience of angels
In the service of Archangels
In the hope of resurrection unto reward
In the prayers of the noble fathers
In the predictions of the prophets
In the preaching of apostles
In the faith of confessors
In purity of holy virgins
In the acts of righteous men.

I bind unto myself today
The power of Heaven
The light of the sun
The whiteness of snow
The force of fire
The flashing of lightning
The velocity of wind
The depth of the sea
The stability of the earth
The hardness of rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to guide me
The might of God to uphold me
The wisdom of God to teach me
The eye of God to watch over me
The ear of God to hear me
The word of God to give me speech
The hand of God to protect me
The way of God to prevent me
The shield of God to shelter me
The host of God to defend me

Against the snares of demons
Against the temptations of vices
Against the lusts of nature
Against every man who meditates injury to me
Whether far or near
With few or with many.

I have set around me all these powers
Against every hostile savage power
Directed against 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 witches, smiths and druids
Against all knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against 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 on the ship deck

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me
Christ in the eye of everyone that sees me
Christ in the ear of everyone that hears me.

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I heard there were no snakes...
Apparently not ... Ireland's only claim is a harmless lizard.

(And as unlikely as the New Age version which sees the myth describing St Patrick of the Roman Catholic Church ousting the Druids and ancient wisdom traditions. A more recent piece of myth-making.)

Nor did he convert pagan Ireland – there were already Christian communities established. Patrick was an ambassador for the Roman Catholic Church, however.

As for patron saint ... I prefer St Brigid.

As patrons go, what scant evidence exists points to the priority of St Brigid until Roman eclipsed Celtic Christianity.

While we're pretty sure the historical Patrick actually existed, the life of Brigid is less certain, with no writings surviving from her time. But the fact is that Patrick was better suited to the patriarchal model of the Roman Church, so became the saint of the country.

Whoever Brigid was – and there probably was a Brigid, traditionally said to be of pagan parents (perhaps a Druid father), a convert who became the abbess of a dual-monastery in Kildare – she assimilated the qualities of her pre-Christian namesake, the goddess Brigid/ Brigantia.

Some may, and rightly so, call this syncretism, but I rather prefer to see it as the Celtic endorsement and harbouring of a spiritual sensibility.

She has been recognised (by an Irish writer) as a figure who personifies the 'liminal' – that state that exists between the passing of one and embracing of another, a time of ambiguity 'that occurs in the middle stage of a rite of passage' (a definition) – neither here nor there, as it were, no longer of this world, but nor yet that...

She is said to have been born on the threshold of a door (neither within or without the house) and at the breaking of dawn (neither day or night). Supposedly from Faughart in County Louth, her cult flourishes to this day. Also in Faughart there was mention of the ruins of an ancient church, and also mentioned is “Brigid’s Stone”, most likely the base of a high cross. The location has much earlier pagan associations with megalithic tombs, souterrains, and raths. Also to be found in the area are rag bushes with many offerings left at them.

The fact is, there is far more and far wider mentions of Brigid than Patrick in Irish folklore, and all these tales show a continuity between nature and grace that is a characteristic of 'Celtic Christianity'.

St Patrick is supposed to have driven all the snakes into the sea.

St Brigid would have had a word, and asked them to stop biting people.