Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St. Paddy & Protection Prayers

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This is St. Patrick's Day and what an irony that government officials have closed down bars to curtail gatherings where people would ignore a public health crisis in order to drink too much. 

Patrick was a devout Christian of the 5th century, one of three patron saints of Ireland along with Brigid and Columba. Patrick is enveloped in lore but he does represent an alternative, Celtic, stream of Christianity which was egalitarian rather than hierarchical, appears to have honoured women in leadership, and was Creation-honouring rather than "pie in the sky when we die." 

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There is a prayer called St. Patrick's Breastplate which is also known as St. Patrick's Lorica. A lorica was a protection prayer, a safeguard against evil.  The Latin word lōrīca originally meant "armour" or "breastplate"  and referred to the protection worn by warriors heading into battle. 

We are certainly feeling vulnerable and beseiged these days yet we can protect ourselves with our own "wash and pray" lorica and by observing the serious but sensible measures governments have instituted. I'm not a fan of Premier Doug Ford by any stretch, and have been disappointed by a number of decisions by Prime Minister Trudeau since he was elected in 2015 That said, I feel that both have responded strongly to the current threat and deserve our support in the midst of uncertainty. 

We can all pray for those in leadership at every level including health care provider and authorities and politicians. Please pray as well for those who are anxious and frightened by an enemy which is invisible yet has the potential to be deadly.

It seems reasonable to bend a socially responsible elbow to the lorica legacy of St. Paddy, and for all the rich possibilities the Celtic Christian tradition continues to offer.

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