St. Patrick’s Day is a really misunderstood day. Our culture tells us that the day is about green beer, leprechauns, rainbows and pots of gold, luck, 4 leaf clovers, corned beef, and gross excess in regards to food, drink, and entertainment. This HolyDay has come so far from where it began. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good party too, it’s just that the tone which is often attached to the day has become rather crude.

Yesterday, I saw a woman wearing was apparently intended to be a St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt which said, “Kiss me I’m sh*tfaced”. Hmmm, I wonder what St. Patrick would have to say about that. If you don’t think he would beat some sense into her with a shillelagh, make sure you keep reading. Traditionally, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a time to go to Mass, spend time with family and spend time at the parish festival. American influences have taken root; however, and to the lament of the Irish bishops the day has become more secular.

I don’t think St. Patrick would be pleased with the connotation his feast day has with intemperance, gluttony and debauchery. Read this and see what you think.

The Lorica of St. Patrick, also known as St. Patrick’s Breastplate.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

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 way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ 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 when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

Download a printable and frameable version of this prayer here: Lorica of St Patrick

In this prayer, we affirm our faith in the Triune God who has always been and who created all things. We surrender to Christ, affirm our fidelity to the Church, call upon God to strengthen us, and protect us from sin (including debauchery). We then ask God to be with us and we pray that we will be a good example of Christ to others and that we may be able to share our faith with those around us. Think about the example shown by the drunken parties!

St. Patrick wouldn’t have had a problem with people having fun and enjoying the day, but I think he would have been very disappointed to see his feast day turned into a giant keg party.

Although he wasn’t Irish, St. Patrick was the bishop of Ireland. He brought the Catholic faith to Ireland and because of that we, no matter our ethnic background, have a lot for which to be thankful. Ireland was the only place in Europe left unscathed by the barbarian invasions in the Middle Ages, so we should be thankful that most of what we know and have from that time period and before was preserved there.

So yes, celebrate St. Patrick, celebrate Ireland, but celebrate Christ too! It’s what St. Patrick did. St. Patrick wants us to see Christ when we think of him and in return have Christ in our hearts as a result. Now, get ready for your corned beef and cabbage and green beer, but keep it clean, keep it sober, keep it Christian.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig, have a blessed St. Patrick’s Day!