Monday, March 01, 2004

beneath the Celtic Cross of Jesus, part II

The good creation has been corrupted by evil

Because it is the work of a good Creator, all of creation is essentially good. However, it has been corrupted by evil. The Celts were not naive about the perniciousness of sin. Evil was an invading army that needed to be driven out. Nature did not always treat the Celts kindly. Their lives were often harsh and hazardous. Invaders plundered and burned their villages. Protection was needed. St. Paul told Christians to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11), so through prayer Celts "bound" to themselves spiritual breastplates, called Loricas, to reassure them of divine protection. Perhaps the most famous of these is St. Patrick's:

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three
I bind this day to me forever, by power of faith, Christ's incarnation.
His baptism in the Jordan River; his death on the cross for my salvation,
His bursting from the spiced tomb; his riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom, I bind unto myself today.

Patrick's Lorica ends with a caim. Caims were prayers spoken as Celts drew a protective circle around themselves. With the right arm outstretched they would turn sunward making a full circle as they recited the caim. Patrick's caim:

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.

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