“The Word of God to give me speech”

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold 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 me speech
His heavenly host to be my guard

The second to last line of this stanza in this translation of St. Patrick’s Breastplate (see above) always gives me bit of the chills. “The Word of God to give me speech.” This could mean Jesus the creator giving us, his children the, power of language. I also picture children with slates and an old Bible centuries ago learning to read by memorizing and copying scripture. We talk so much about so many things and so presumptuously, but our very breath comes from Him. Without His gift, it’s like our mouths are glued shut, our minds in a dense fog.

I think this passage from Eugen Rosenstock Huessy’s The Christian Future is trying to get at a similar idea.

The Living God thus revealed by Jesus must be forever distinguished from the merely conceptual God of philosophers. Most atheists deny God because they look for Him in the wrong way. He is not an object but a person, and He has not a concept but a name. To approach Him as an object of theoretical discussion is to defeat the quest from the start. Nothing but the world of space is given in this manner. Nobody can look at God as an object. God looks at us and has looked at us before we open our eyes or our mouths. He is the power which makes us speak. He puts words of life on our lips.