Thursday, July 10, 2008

Praying the Lorica or Breastplate prayer

A Lorica was Breastplate armour. A breastplate prayer was therefore considered the putting on of spiritual armour. The most famous of this type of prayer for protection is attributed to St Patrick and has been so named St Patricks BreastPlate.

The Breastplate of St. Patrick (in its original form)

I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
through belief in the Threeness,
through confessionof the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubimin obedience of Angels,
in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
In innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of 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 host to secure me:against snares of devils,
against temptations of vices,against inclinations of nature,
against everyone whoshall wish me ill,
afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets, against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of women [any witch] and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me todayagainst poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

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 in breadth, Christ in length,Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength,
the invocation of theTrinity, through belief in the Threeness,
through confession of theOneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ.
May Thy Salvation, O Lord,
Be ever with us.

Legend has it that Patrick sang this as a hymn when ambushes were laid against. On one particular journey to Tara men lay in wait to kill him and his party of monks. The story goes that those waiting in the darkness to pounce saw coming from the mist wild deer with a fawn following them carrying books. They let them pass not realizeing what they saw was Patrick and his party. Patrick arrived at Tara; his Easter fire was the first spring light, conquering darkness forever in Ireland

This prayer summons God’s protection to strengthen us for life’s struggles.
The armour consists of...
1. God – the three in one
2. Human valour as lived by Christ
3. Angels and great souls
4. Powers of creation
5. Spiritual gifts

The praying person confronts negative forces one by one,
Inviting Christ into each situation, and repeats the opening invocation.
To make your own armour prayer, choose an example for numbers 1-5 above and confront one negative force in your life. Close your prayer by invocing the presecne of Christ and the Trinity.
In the St Patrick’s Breastplate prayer, the writer imagines that he is Patrick, putting on the different items of God’s armour: God, the saints, powers of creation, spiritual gifts – just like a suit of armour.
you can close with the words from the seventh verse of the prayer...
Christ beside me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ before me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ in heart of all who meet me.

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