A Lorica for the New Year

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breastplateA Lorica is a prayer recited for protection. This Latin word originally meant armor or breastplate. Knights would place verbal inscriptions on their shield or breastplate for recitation before going into battle.

The Lorica of Saint Patrick, patron saint of Ireland is called St. Patrick’s Breastplate or the Deer’s Cry. The story is that Patrick recited this prayer to protect him and his followers as they faced persecution for sharing Christianity across Ireland. As the Celtic Christians chanted this prayer, it is said that the Druid’s waiting to kill them saw deer, not men.

One of the best-known verses of St. Patrick’s Breastplate can also serve as a Lorica for us as we face the disappointments, grief, fear, doubt and hopelessness that any new year might bring.

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 when I arise,
 Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
 Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
 Christ in every eye that sees me,
 Christ in every ear that hears me.

 Lorica of Saint Patrick

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