St Patrick’s Breast Plate Prayer
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.
I have always loved this couplet of St Patrick’s Breast Plate Prayer. In times of distress it has centered me and given me comfort. But as I was reading it for the umpteenth time in light of the recent school shootings in Oregon, Arizona and Texas I felt if St. Patrick would mind if I added a couple of lines to his prayer. You see this prayer says nothing of the compassion, mercy, or Justus we are asked to extend beyond ourselves and into the world. So St. Patrick doesn’t mind, well even if he does, I think an addition is in order, perhaps something like this:
Christ in the heart of the wounded,
Christ in the hands of the comforter,
Christ in our forgiveness,
Christ in our love for the enemy
Christ in our carrying for those who harm us
Christ in how we live day to day.
This is what I would add, and maybe you would add something else. But whatever you add let your words open your heart to both the victim and the one who commits the crime. That is what we are asked to do; it is a small thing but Oh so hard to succeed at.
Ruth Jewell, ©October 13, 2015