During the eighth and ninth centuries in the British Isles [that’s 300-400 years before medieval pilgrims were making their way to Santiago], followers of Jesus often composed prayers to declare the encompassing presence of God in the world. Some of these were loricas, or breastplate prayers [the breastplate being the piece of armor that covers your torso and protects your heart in battle, and lorica being Latin for breastplate]. Perhaps they had in mind Paul’s description of spiritual armor:
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. [Ephesians 6:14]
The best known is the 9th century lorica of St. Patrick. The prayer is rather long and detailed but last year in the midst of all the craziness that was going on,** I found it was a helpful way to slow down and center myself on the Rock of Ages who is in charge of the world and responsible for my life. I still periodically return to it whenever I need to remind myself that God is my shepherd, and Christ is with me.
I arise today
In the strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I arise today calling to mind Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I arise today remembering
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I arise today with 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 to me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me,
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From every one who shall wish me ill,
Christ will shield me today:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I arise today in the strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.