A Prayer of Saint Patrick: Deer’s Cry

Saint Patrick  was born on March 17 in A.D. 385  (d.461). Also known as: Patricius; QatrikiasPádraigPadrig. Hwas a Romano-British Christian missionary  and also a bishop in Ireland. Of equal importance, however, is the little-known fact that he was also a poet.

 Patrick composed a poem / prayer  in  A.D.433, asking for God’s protection from an ambush determined  to kill him and his friars en route to the King’s court. It is also known as “The Breastplate of St. Patrick” and “The Lorica.” It is the first hymn written in Gaelic: (Included here only in part, translated by Seumas MacManus in The Story of the Irish Race.)

“Deer’s Cry” (Faed Fiada)  ~ For protection from an ambush of the Druids”

I. I bind me today,

God’s might to direct me,

God’s wisdom for learning,

God’s eye for discerning,

God’s ear for my hearing

God’s word for my clearing.

II. God’s hand for my cover,

God’s path to pass over,

God’s buckler to guard me,

God’s army to ward me;

against snares of the devil,

against vices, temptation,

against wrong inclination,

against men who plot evil,

Anear or afar, with many or few.

III. Christ near,

Christ here,

Christ be with me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ within me,

Christ behind me,

Christ be o’er me,

Christ before me.

IV. Christ in the left and the right,

Christ hither and thither,

Christ in the sight,

of each eye that shall seek me,

in each ear that shall hear,

in each mouth that shall speak me —

Christ not the less

in each heart I address.

I bind me today on the Triune I call.

Almighty God, bestow upon us the meaning of words, the light of understanding, the nobility of diction, and the faith of the true nature. And grant that what we believe we may also speak.              

Saint Hilary (c. 315-368), Bishop of Poitiers

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About Wendy Murray

Wendy Murray is a veteran and award-winning journalist. She served as associate editor and Senior Writer at Christianity Today magazine and has written extensively for other publications such as Books & Culture and The Christian Century. She has written 11 books.