Cate Blanchett in armor

 

It’s the season for Shamrock Shakes and four leaf clovers. Another wonderful gift from the Irish is something called a lorica which literally means a kind of hard casing or armor. It’s also a type of ancient Irish prayer of protection which envelops the speaker in spiritual armor.

You’re probably familiar with Ephesians 6: 13-17:
Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

This scripture has exactly the feeling of a lorica.

On St. Patrick’s Day some years ago I read St. Patrick’s Lorica (which you can find here ) to my seminary students. Then they created their own unique and clever loricas and headed to high school clad in their own literary spiritual armor.

Here’s a gorgeous Lorica some of you may recognize as the hymn “Be Thou My Vision” which was translated from the Old Irish by Eleanor Hull in 1912.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my breastplate, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower:
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise:
Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O Bright Heaven’s sun!;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

This weekend why not try writing your own lorica? It’s zero calories unlike a Shamrock Shake, easier to fashion than a four leaf clover and a lot lighter to carry than Cate Blanchett’s armor.

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