“We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose."
Protection and security are essential parts of our human experience. They are a need, driving us at all levels of our consciousness. Security is not solely protection from negative breaches on our life such as bodily harm. It also includes protection from internal violations such as someone or something gaining unwanted access and negatively impacting our emotional, mental, or spiritual well-being.
We seek protection through our decisions and behaviors. Some of us seek protection at the lowest levels because of fear; others because of wisdom. Not all protective instincts are fear-based, some bubble up from an innate divinity.
Having said that, the foundation for most of our prejudices is protection-based, out of fear. Prejudices can also present themselves through mental biases or mental errors. No matter how we attain these false ideas, we hold them because we believe they protect us. If we can keep ourselves separated from those who we perceive as different we feel safer. To the lowest thinking part of the Collective Unconscious, ‘different’ means ‘dangerous'. So, we isolate ourselves physically as well as psychologically from anyone we think may be a threat. We form gangs. We live in neighborhoods of people who look like us, live like us, speak like us. These are all means of protecting ourselves.
We own guns, set up alarm systems, build fences, learn martial arts, wear charms and trinkets and baubles, and memorize prayers, affirmations, and even recite superstitions to protect ourselves. To protect our health, we eat specific kinds of foods, take nutritional supplements, and exercise. We search for mates, friends, companions along life’s journey as protection from loneliness. We take out warranty plans and insurances of various sorts.
Some of us protect ourselves by learning, reading, and education. We master skills partly to protect ourselves. Protection plays a large part in all our pursuits. It is not the sole reason, nor even the primary reason, but it is a significant portion of our life journey.
It has always been so. Over the hundreds of thousands of years of existence and conflict, we have developed better and better weapons, shields, and armor. From the thick fur of a bear or bison to wood and leather shields, from mail-lined metal-forged armor to the latest lightweight liquid-based Kevlar vests.
Protection while in these bodies is necessary; fear is not. While it is important to protect our bodies, it is equally important to protect our souls, our consciousness, the spiritual part of us, the awareness of our Divine Natures. But we must realize that protection is not about living in a constant state of anxiety. It is about being aware, proactive, and prepared; it is about being prudent.
Self-protection can be simplified into three concepts: being aware, monitoring access, and listening to our intuition. Being aware is vital to our protection and security. Situational awareness needs to be come a habit. Walking through a parking lot texting on our phone prevents us from observing what is going on around us.
If we are fixated on something, it is likely we are missing something else. Staring fearfully into a dark corner is not productive if we walk into a table. Avoiding distraction is a simple lifestyle adjustment that can optimize personal safety. Being aware of the familiar enables us to spot the unfamiliar.
Awareness applies to our spiritual lives, as well. Being enwrapped and entrapped in the physical world prevents us from being aware of Christ and the still small voice of God. Spirit wants to guide us, but we must be willing to listen and look for the guidance. We must open our awareness to Spirit.
Second, monitoring access to our physical and emotional natures is vital to our protection. There’s an ongoing, ever-changing balance between who and what should have access granted, denied, limited, or even revoked in our life. It is important to recognize who and what has access to and influence over our emotions and behaviors. External access is commercially advertised: house alarm systems and other security measures, martial arts, etc. These do not have to be based upon fear, but prudence and rational caution, and are closely aligned with situational awareness.
Internal access management is not shutting everyone and everything out because we are fearful of being hurt. It is mindfully connecting to the people and circumstances that have a positive, constructive, and empowering effect on our life. It is also recognizing the circumstances and people who may require being denied access. We can make it a habit to regularly assess our access control, inside and out, to reduce the vulnerabilities.
Spiritually, God’s access to our hearts and minds requires our constant consent. It is just a thought that unlocks our connection, and that thought begins with us.
The third component of our protection is our instinct. It is the precursor to the thought that allows God into our hearts. This instinct comes as a nudge, a ‘gut feeling’. Sometimes we get a tap on the shoulder that something is not right. If it doesn’t smell right, feel right, or look right, it probably isn’t right and needs our attention and investigation. For these inner nudges to identify a problem, they rely on sound situational awareness and healthy access management.
These components work together to optimize our security. Self-protection is not about being constantly afraid; it is acknowledging that as a child of God we are worth protecting and have the wisdom to be prudent in doing something about it.
In the Dark Ages physical armor was the main stay of protection. But unlike physical armor, God’s armor is not burdensome or restrictive. Like a screen door it keeps out the bad and protects what is inside, allowing the free flow of Spirit, Life, and Love.
St. Patrick was a 5th century catholic priest who set out to bring the idea of Christ to the multitudes of pagans who lived in Ireland. Tradition has it that he wrote a prayer describing his theology, which has been called the Lorica of St. Patrick. ‘Lorica’ is the Latin word for a cuirass or breastplate, or any type of armor. On it included this prayer:
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 in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
St. Patrick knew that he would face challenges while spreading his beliefs on God, so needed protection. Since he was not a warrior, his Lorica, or protection, would be prayer and his faith in God.
This is a powerful lesson for us today. We may not have to wear liquid-based Kevlar vest when we go about our day, but we can have all the protection that we need when we submit our wills and thoughts to God. Joshua 1:5 states: No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
As we expand our attunement to God, our protection moves from ourselves to the ones we love and beyond. Robert Hill Sr. wrote: “Love is the commitment to protecting another person’s heart with the same passion you use to guard our own.” Love protects us; it protects those to whom we direct it. 1 Corinthians 13:7 states: Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Personally, my greatest need for protection is from me -- my own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs, from my own fear-based analyses and erred conclusions. My greatest protection comes from a non-judgmental attitude, non-attachment toward what is happening within me and around me. I must remember to look at myself and others without criticism or blame and allow Spirit to flow lovingly through me and surround me with Divine Protection.
As human beings, we will follow the protocols that keep us healthy, safe, and secure. But regardless of the earthly conventions, it is good to remember that God is our Divine Protector. Like St. Patrick, It is my prayer that we will call upon Christ as our greatest defense against what the world would throw at us.
I leave you with the St. Patrick’s Prayer for the Faithful:
May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord, always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
Lorica of St. Patrick
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation.
I arise today Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism, Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial, Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension, Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today Through the strength of the love of cherubim, In obedience of angels, In service of archangels, In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward, In the prayers of patriarchs, In preachings of the apostles, In faiths of confessors, In innocence of virgins, In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today Through the strength of heaven; Light of the sun, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind, Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth, Firmness of the rock.
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 way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me, God's hosts to save me From snares of the devil, From temptations of vices, From every one who desires me ill, Afar and anear, Alone or in a multitude. I summon today all these powers between me and evil, Against every cruel merciless power that opposes 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 women and smiths and wizards, Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. Christ shield me today Against poison, against burning, Against drowning, against wounding, So that reward may come to me in abundance.
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 in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, Through a belief in the Threeness, Through a confession of the Oneness Of the Creator of creation
St. Patrick (ca. 377)