“Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me…” The mighty Lorica of Saint Patrick

During these dark days, we can benefit from the use of this prayer, called the Breastplate, or Loríca of St. Patrick, “The Cry of the Deer” (Latin Lorica is pronounced lo-REE-ka).  It is said that St. Patrick (+461) sang this when an ambush was set for him so that he could not go to Tara to evangelize.  Patrick and companions were then hidden from the sight of their enemies, who thought that they were deer when they passed by.  However, some scholars date the prayer to the 8th c.  Either way, this is a mickle, puissant prayer!

The Latin word loríca means “a leather cuirass; a defense of any kind; a breastwork, parapet”.  In effect, it means “armor”.   “Loríca” is also associated with an rhythmic invocation or prayer especially for protection as when going into battle.

The Lorica of St. Patrick is rooted in an un-confused belief in the supernatural dimension of our lives, that there truly is a spiritual battle being waged for our souls.  This prayer reflects our absolute dependence on the One Three-Personed God.

One could pray this prayer each and every morning, upon arising.

On St. Patrick’s Day, instead drinking green beer, pastors of parishes should invite people to come to Church for confessions, recitation of the Rosary, Mass, Exposition, the praying of the Lorica, Benediction.  Suggest it to your priests.

Play
Latin English
Sancti Patricii Hymnus ad Temoriam. The Lorica, Breastplate, of St. Patrick (The Cry of the Deer)

 

Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis,
Credo in Trinitatem sub unitate numinis elementorum.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem nativitatis Christi cum ea ejus baptismi,
Virtutem crucifixionis cum ea ejus sepulturae,
Virtutem resurrectionis cum ea ascensionis,
Virtutem adventus ad judicium aeternum.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
Apud Temoriam hodie virtutem amoris Seraphim in obsequio angelorum,
In spe resurrectionis ad adipiscendum praemium.
In orationibus nobilium Patrum,
In praedictionibus prophetarum,
In praedicationibus apostolorum,
In fide confessorum,
In castitate sanctarum virginum,
In actis justorum virorum.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
Apud Temoriam hodie potentiam coeli,
Lucem solis,
Candorem nivis,
Vim ignis,
Rapiditatem fulguris,
Velocitatem venti,
Profunditatem maris,
Stabilitatem terrae,
Duritiam petrarum.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentia Dei me dirigat,
Potestas Dei me conservet,
Sapientia Dei me edoceat,
Oculus Dei mihi provideat,
Auris Dei me exaudiat,
Verbum Dei me disertum faciat,
Manus Dei me protegat,
Via Dei mihi patefiat,
Scutum Dei me protegat,
Exercitus Dei me defendat,
Contra insidias daemonum,
Contra illecebras vitiorum,
Contra inclinationes animi,
Contra omnem hominem qui meditetur injuriam mihi,
Procul et prope,
Cum paucis et cum multis.
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 shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
Posui circa me sane omnes potentias has
Contra omnem potentiam hostilem saevam
Excogitatam meo corpori et meae animae;
Contra incantamenta pseudo-vatum,
Contra nigras leges gentilitatis,
Contra pseudo-leges haereseos,
Contra dolum idololatriae,
Contra incantamenta mulierum,
Et fabrorum ferrariorum et druidum,
Contra omnem scientiam quae occaecat animum hominis.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose 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 witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christus me protegat hodie
Contra venenum,
Contra combustionem,
Contra demersionem,
Contra vulnera,
Donec meritus essem multum praemii.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison,
against burning,
Against drowning,
against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
Christus mecum,
Christus ante me,
Christus me pone,
Christus in me,
Christus infra me,
Christus supra me,
Christus ad dextram meam,
Christus ad laevam meam,
Christus hine,
Christus illine,
Christus a tergo.
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,
Christus in corde omnis hominis quem alloquar,
Christus in ore cujusvis qui me alloquatur,
Christus in omni oculo qui me videat,
Christus in omni aure quae me audiat.
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.
Ad Temoriam hodie potentiam praepollentem invoco Trinitatis. I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Credo in Trinitatem sub Unitate numinis elementorum.
Domini est salus,
Domini est salus,
Christi est salus,
Salus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
[Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is from Christ,
Your Salvation, O Lord, is with us always.]
Amen. Amen.

The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles of Gower Abbey have a Lorica of St Patrick on their Angels and Saints at Ephesus album.  US HERE – UK HERE

Concerning the translation of the Lorica. HERE

 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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7 Comments

  1. Josephus Corvus says:

    I love that prayer.

    One phrase in there that always confused me. What did the smiths do to get lumped in with witches and wizards? It seems that doing that type of work would have been an honorable profession even way back then. May these are the guys who were making idols or something?

  2. Fr. Kelly says:

    Hephaestus is the blacksmith to the gods. From his forge in Mt. Aetna, he made armor for the gods and for the greatest of the heroes. It was to him that Thetis turned for the making of Achilles’ new armor.

    Back in the day, the making of steel weapons was often an act of worship of the pagan gods. A sword was often consecrated to the service of one or other of the war gods. — often in the context of a blood sacrifice.
    In fact, the hardening of iron into steel was generally accomplished by the addition of bones (as a source of carbon, I expect)

    In any case, the making of a superior weapon out of crushed rocks seems almost supernatural, and smiths were not above fostering the mysterious character of their arts. In this context it is not too surprising that the Evil One might take advantage of these openings and to control the works of smiths and even give a certain mystical excellence to them in order to build up the mystique. This was especially true in Pre-Christian Ireland.

    What is translated witches and wizards, is perhaps more accurately, “Wise Women” and Druids. All three of these are groups in ancient Ireland who claimed to channel the spirits of the earth, or the gods, or the dead to gain power and influence on things around them.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks Fr. Z and Fr. Reader. A blessed St. Patrick’s Day to all.

  4. LeeGilbert says:

    Here is another version, from The Story of the Irish Race by Seumas MacManus, Devin-Adair, 1972 p 114. Per MacManus this translation by Prof. Sigerson is the same measure, meter and rhythm of the original. This was our night prayer for many years as the children were growing up.

    Faed Fiada- The Deer’s Cry

    I
    I bind me today,
    God’s might to direct me,
    God’s power to protect me,
    God’s wisdom for learning,
    God’s eye for discerning,
    God’s ear for my hearing,
    God’s word for my clearing.

    II
    God’s hand for my cover,
    God’s path to pass over,
    God’s buckler to guard me,
    God’s army to ward me,
    Against snares of the devil.
    Against vice’s temptation,
    Against wrong inclination,
    Against men who plot evil,
    Anear or afar, with many or few

    III
    Christ near,
    Christ here,
    Christ be with me,
    Christ beneath me,
    Christ within me,
    Christ behind me,
    Christ be o’er me,
    Christ before me.

    IV
    Christ in the left and the right,
    Christ hither and thither,
    Christ in the sight,
    Of each eye that shall seek me,
    In each ear that shall hear,
    In each mouth that shall speak me—
    Christ not the less In each heart 1 address.
    1 bind me today on the Triune—I call,
    With faith in the Trinity— Unity—God over all.

  5. Suburbanbanshee says:

    In case anybody is confused, “Temoriam” is Temair, aka Tara (Tara is a simplified spelling of Teamhra or Temra, the genitive case).

  6. JonPatrick says:

    When I was in the Episcopal Church there was a hymn called “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” with similar words that we sung on Trinity Sunday as well as around St. Patrick’s Day. I have a wonderful version of this on my Spotify playlist, by the Manchester UK Anglican Cathedral choir. Sadly I don’t think I have ever heard it sung in a Catholic Church as it is a perfect one for Trinity Sunday.

  7. Josephus Corvus says:

    Fr. Kelly – Great information! Thanks for the history lesson.

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