I learned something this morning as I was looking for translations of the prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate in celebration of Patrick’s feast day. The entire prayer is quite long and not often quoted in its entirety. I myself am not a fan of some of it as it speaks of protections against evil in many forms that do not otherwise ever enter my consciousness. I’ve always found the title of the prayer rather ironic as there is no way all those words could fit on the frontispiece of a soldier’s armor. Today I learned that this prayer is a lorica, a monastic protection prayer in which the petitioner invokes all the power of God as a safeguard against evil in its many forms. The Latin word lorica originally meant “armor” or “breastplate.” Both meanings come together in the practice of placing verbal inscriptions on the shields or armorial trappings of knights who might recite them before going into battle. (Wikipedia)
So today, although I am not in severe combat with evil in my personal life, I am grateful for the protection of God that (in probably the 6th century) the author of the prayer ascribed to St. Patrick. Here are some verses that I am happy to give voice to today:
I bind to myself today the power of heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendor of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of sea, the stability of earth, the compactness of rock. I bind to myself today God’s power to guide me, God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to teach me, God’s eye to watch over me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to give me speech, God’s hand to guide me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to shelter me, God’s host to secure me…I bind to myself today the strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity; I believe the Trinity in the Unity, the Creator of the Universe.