St. Patrick’s Breastplate – Gird with Christ

Today I gird myself
With the power of Christ’s birth together with his baptism,
With the power of his crucifixion together with his burial,
With the power of his resurrection together with his ascension,
With the power of his descent to pronounce judgment of Doomsday.

These four lines of prayer, acknowledge that the call of Jesus is intertwined with the call on His people. He is the head and we are the body. Thus, every aspect of Jesus’ life can instruct and guide us in our call.

This prayer emerges from a culture of people who followed the liturgical year. Every year, they celebrated every aspect of the life of Jesus from his coming, to his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and even final return. Every aspect of his life teaches us to walk in the reality of our call. As we seek to understand our call in this life, we might look at Jesus.

Many people spend their lives trying to discover their gifts and their purposes in the body. Dallas Willard suggests that if a seminar is offered on knowing the will of God, people flock to it. But it might help us to look beyond a specific vocation, to the calling to follow Christ in all things. In four simple lines, we can begin to glimpse a stunning picture of Christ call in our own lives.

With the power of Christ’s birth together with his baptism,

We are called to incarnation. God choose to reveal Himself in and through His people. Our lives and our interests and our talents are simply gifts of God that we redistribute to the world around us.

With the power of his crucifixion together with his burial,

We are called to humiliation. God chose to perfect His Son and His saints through suffering. In weakness (not strength), we discover a grace that sustains, transforms, and lifts us up into glory.

With the power of his resurrection together with his ascension,

We are called to vindication. God chose to defeat evil through His elect people—and ultimately through His elect person: His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. He reveals that victory through His elect people: the saints, the church, the children of God. Even though we may grow weary, we hold fast, knowing good has triumphed and will ultimately be realized.

With the power of his descent to pronounce judgment of Doomsday.

We are called to revelation. God chose to reveal Himself to the world through life of Jesus— who is both fully God and fully man. The world has seen His humanity, His weakness, His death. But by God’s grace, we behold His glory and are changed from glory to glory.

Exercise:

Today I gird myself
With the power of Christ’s birth together with his baptism,
With the power of his crucifixion together with his burial,
With the power of his resurrection together with his ascension,
With the power of his descent to pronounce judgment of Doomsday.

Pray this prayer slowly and think over each line in relation to God’s call in your life. Where do you see Jesus in your life? Or what image of Jesus do you connect with the most? Are there other images of Jesus that have played an important role in your life now or in the past?

Think of your life as pilgrimage and you might want to write or draw different stages as different parts of the journey and the different aspects of Jesus presence that sustained.

Where is he calling you from now?