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St. Patrick
The Lorica
or Shield of St. Patrick

1

We bind ourselves today to a strong virtue,
an invocation of the Trinity.
We believe in a Threeness,
with confession of an Oneness
in the Creator of the Universe.
We bind ourselves today
to the virtue of Christ's birth with his baptism,
to the virtue of his crucifixion with his burial,
to the virtue of his resurrection with his ascension,
to the virtue of his coming to the Judgment of Doom.

2

We bind ourselves today to the virtue
of ranks of Cherubim,
in obedience of Angels,
in service of Archangels

in hope of resurrection for reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs,
in preaching of Apostles,

in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins,
in deeds of righteous men.

3

We bind ourselves today to the virtue of Heaven,
In light of Sun,
In brightness of Snow
In splendour of Fire,
In speed of Lightning,
In swiftness of Wind,
In depth of Sea,
In stability of Earth,
In compactness of Rock.

4

We bind ourselves today to God's Virtue to pilot us,
God's might to uphold us,
God’s wisdom to guide us,
God's eye to look before us,
God's ear to hear us,
God’s Word to speak to us,
God’s hand to guard us,
God's way to lie before us,
God's shield to protect us,
God's host to secure us,
Against snares of demons,
Against seductions of vices,
Against lusts of nature,
Against every one who wishes ill to us,
Afar and anear, alone and in a multitude.

5

So have we invoked all these virtues between us,
and these:
against every cruel, merciless power which may come
against our bodies and our souls
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics,
against craft of idolatry,
against spells. . .
against every knowledge that defiles men's souls.
Christ protect us today,
Against poison, against burning, against drowning, against death-wound,
Until a multitude of rewards come to us!

6

Christ with us, Christ before us,
Christ behind us, Christ in us!
Christ below us, Christ above us.
Christ at our right, Christ at our left!
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height!
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of us,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to us,
Christ in every eye that sees us,
Christ in every ear that hears us!
Salvation is the Lord's,
salvation is the Lord's,
salvation is Christ's.
May Thy salvation, O Lord, be always with us.
 
 
 
 
 
Hymn
St. Patrick's Lorica
 
To the tune of Bunessan or Morning Has Broken:

Rising I thank You, mighty and strong One
King of Creation, giver of rest.
Firmly confessing threeness of Persons
Oneness of Godhead, Trinity blest.

This day God gives me strength of high heaven
Sun and moon shining, flame in my hearth
Flashing of lightning, wind in its swiftness
Deeps of the ocean, firmness of earth.

This day God sends me Strength as my guardian
Might to uphold me, Wisdome as guide.
Your eyes are watchful, Your ears are listening
Your lips are speaking, Friend at my side.

God's way is my way, God's shield is round me
God's host defends me, saving from ill.
Angels of heaven drive from me always
All that would harm me, stand at my side.

Christ be beside me, Christ be before me.
Christ be behind me King of my heart.
Christ be within me, Christ be below me.
Christ be above me Never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand.
Christ all around me Shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting.
Christ in my rising Light of my life.

Christ be in all hearts Thinking about me.
Christ be on all tongues Telling of me.
Christ be the vision In eyes that see me,
In ears that hear me Christ ever be.

Rising I thank You, mighty and strong One
King of Creation, giver of rest.
Firmly confessing threeness of Persons
Oneness of Godhead, Trinity blest.

St. Patrick

(389-460)
 
 

Patrick, known as the "Apostle of the Irish" was born in Britain, but at  age sixteen he was captured by Irish pirates and enslaved six years in Ireland as a shepherd.  During his captivity he turned in earnest to God.  With God's help, he escaped back to Britain, but once back in his homeland, God called him to prepare for the ministry and return as a missionary to the Irish.  As he traveled, he constantly prayed scripture, diligently reciting every day the Psalms, Revelation, and other songs from scripture.[1] 

His first Easter back in Ireland, Patrick headed for a high place at the core of Druidism.  This was intentional, he said, "so that it might never stand up against the faith of Christ."[2] Irish King Laeghaire and two chief Druids came out for battle against him, and summoned Patrick to approach and state his business.  Patrick came before the King's army singing from the Psalms, "Let them trust in their chariots and horses, but we shall walk in the name of the Lord."[3]To explain to them the gospel message, legend has it that Patrick plucked a nearby shamrock, knowing that it was sacred to them, and held it up high so everyone could see. "Is it one leaf or three?" They replied, "It is both one and three." Patrick then concluded, "So it is with God."[4]After Patrick declared to them the three central truths of his preaching--the trinity, the incarnation, and the resurrection--Druid Lochru blasphemed God and the King ordered his men to slay Patrick.  But Patrick prayed again a Psalm, "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let those who hate Him fly from before His face."[5] Suddenly a dark cloud rushed down upon them, so that the kings men fought each other, and the earth shook and a whirlwind came, scattering them.[6] 

Tradition has it that as Patrick went on from that place to face further miraculous duels with druids, he chanted a song known today as the Lorica, or Shield of St. Patrick.[7]  As we read portions of this ancient  prayer together, we are confessing before our spiritual enemies that we connect ourselves to God.  We bind ourselves to God's virtues, to the virtues of Christ's accomplishments for us, to the virtues God has displayed in His creation, and to all the means God uses to guide and protect us.[8]  Christ is our shield as we go forth with the gospel message.


Related Scripture Reading

You, O Lord, Are a Shield About Me

Ephesians 6:16-18 

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all
the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit,
with all prayer and supplication.
 
Psalm 3:1-8 
O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
 
I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
 
Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people!


[1] John Healy, The Live and Writings of St. Patrick, with Appendices, Etc., (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1905) 245.

[2] Healy, 143.

[3] Psalm 20:7

[4] "St. Patrick: The Trinity and the Shamrock", What Saith the Scriptures, http://www.whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship
/Edit_Trinity.and.Shamrock.html (accessed March 13, 2010)

[5] Psalm 68:1

[6] Healy, 146.

[7] Healy, 560.

[8] The Breastplate of St. Patrick, http://orderofsaintpatrick.org/breastplate.htm (accessed March 14, 2010).  The first person has been made pleural.  Slide 2, 5, and the middle sections of slide 6 may be removed to narrow the focus of our attention on God and shorten the reading.