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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Lorica of Saint Patrick

Hail glorious Saint Patrick, dear Saint of our Isle!
On us, thy poor children, bestow a sweet smile.

+ I arise today
through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
through a belief in the Trinity,
through confession of the Unity
of the Creator of creation.

+ I arise today
through the strength of Christ's Birth and Baptism,
through the strength of his Crucifixion and burial,
through the strength of his Resurrection and 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 the preaching of the Apostles,
in the faith of Confessors,
in the innocence of Virgins,
in the deeds of righteous men.

+ I arise today
through the strength of heaven;
light of the sun,
splendour 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 guide 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 near,
alone or in multitude.

+ 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 paganism,
against false laws of hereticks,
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 trhat reward may come to me in abundance.

+ Christ with me,
+ Christ before me,
+ Christ behind me,
+ Christ within 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 belief on the Trinity,
through a confession of the Unity
of the Creator of creation.



Ian said...

Stanza 7 requires some constant crossing! LM's no-mandolin-style priest would be casting a wary eye over his congregation there I imagine! ;-)

Thank you for that. I'm a big fan of the hymn St Patrick's Breastplate; and it's nice to see what I take to be its inspiration in prose form.

And can I confess to a small grin on reading 'On us, thy poor children, bestow a sweet smile'?

Michael said...


Of course you can. I'll post the words to that hymn, if you'd like. It really is rather twee, but somehow on S. Patrick's Feast, it seems to work, especially with my part-Irish background.

I must confess that the crossings are my own. I started feeling guilty about not saying the Office every morning, as sometimes prime seems just that tiny bit too long and so I decided that some prayer is better than none at all. So I use the Lorica now when I don't say Prime and sometimes in addition to it.

Anonymous said...

"Us, thy poor children" are the victims of the famine in the 19th c.

That's a four boxes of kleenex hymn if you imagine the days of the famine and the times when being the "wrong religion" could land you in jail or worse.

There were similar times in Scotland during the "Highland Clearances". I am big on getting really maudlin and lugubrious thinking of the hardships borne by our unfortunate and penniless ancestors. Makes me forget about how penniless I am...

Leetle M.

Ian said...

Indeed LM.

And thank you for the historical context of that line: it does appear much more meaningful when placed in context.

Ian said...

Oh, and I think the Lorica would be a marvellous thing to pray daily, Michael. It is so comprehensive and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I too think it is rather beautiful. I knew bits of it, but have never before seen the whole thing.