A Writer's Breastplate

(based on the Breastplate of St. Patrick)

I bind to myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
Invoking the same,
The Three in One
and One in Three.

I plead for my thinking and writing today
The power of love, the power of faith,
Christ’s incarnate immanence,
The passion of his holy death,
Awareness of His imminence,
His power bursting from the spiced tomb,
His exaltation up the heavenly way,
His princely coming at the day of doom
I plead for them all today.

I invoke for my words the power
Of angels' shout,
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The voice of the seraphim,
The certainty of the Apostles,
The backbone of Patriarchs,
the certainty of prophets,
And all good work done
as to the Lord and not for men.

I ask for my work today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I beseech for my sentences, paragraphs, and pages,
My grammar, style, usage, and punctuation,
My concepts and conceits, advances and retreats,
The power of God to inspire and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give them speech,
His heavenly host to be their guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The lie of judgment, lack of grace,
The haunting doubts that war within,
The lazy word, the easy phrase,
Such fatal flaws as these in me,
In every place and in all hours,
Against all unChristlike tendencies
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the world's deceitful thrills,
Against the lure of pleasing men,
Against dependence on my own skills,
Protect me, Christ, as you alone can.

Christ be with me, be all to me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ flow through me,
Christ to empty and restore me.
Christ my waking, Christ my sleeping,
Christ my thinking, Christ my feeling,
Christ my laughing, Christ my weeping,
Christ concealing and revealing.

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

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