Saturday, March 17, 2007

What the heck is a 'lorica"?

Happy St. Patrick's day!

I love St. Patrick's day. Its the better of the two remaining "Catholic" holiday's that everyone celebrates. The other being St. Valentine's day, this one actually has a personality to attach to it and some heritage to celebrate.

One thing always comes to my mind on this day: The Lorica of St. Patrick. But what the heck IS a "lorica"? I always thought it was just another word for a long poem. But today I have looked it up!


Lorica

1. Zoology A protective external shell or case, as of a rotifer or any of certain other microscopic animals.
2. A cuirass or corselet worn by Roman soldiers.

Um...

That has nothing to do with poetry. But then on the patron saint index I find:
Christ shield me this day:

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 when I lie down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me

Saint Patrick, from his breastplate

That ditty is from his lorica, which I guess you could connect breastplate to the above definition of "lorica". Thats good enough for me! I think I posted his lorica last year but its a good one so here it is again. Notice: it does not say "Christ with Green beer" anywhere in the text.


Lorica of Saint Patrick

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His 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 preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor 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 guard 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 anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

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 pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
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 that reward may come to me in abundance.

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 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 a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

1 comment:

Chris said...

I was wondering the same thing when I posted this to my blog earlier today.

Wikipedia says:

Lorica is a Latin word literally meaning body armour

In the Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is an incantation recited for protection.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton