The Celtic Way of Prayer

The Celtic Way of Prayer

The third book I read this last week is The Celtic Way of Prayerby Esther de Waal. I have read this book a number of times over the last 10 years and never fail to gain fresh insights about the Celtic Christian movement and its lessons for us today.

This time I was particularly impacted by the comment:

They saw the world through eyes washed miraculously clear by continual spiritual exercise; they was with “rinsed eyes”. They was with such clarity because the seeing came out of contemplative vision (96).

This concept is one that I need reminding of time and again. Taking time to see the world, with contemplative vision so easily gets lost in the midst of busyness. Living in the present, being alive to the world around, totally listening to God, looking and listening for the sacred in the midst of every mundane act of the day, finding in the world in which we live the reflection of God’s invisible world, these are the things that I keep coming back to.

A couple of days ago in my post Am I Fully Recognized for What I am I wrote: for Celtic saints all of life was organized in light of spiritual realities. It was the same for the Trappist monks I wrote about yesterday. The centre of all things is meant to be the spiritual reality of our relationship to God. It is this that should control our time, our rhythm of life, our use of resources.

As I continue my journey this is the focus of my thoughts. The questions that keeps revolving in my mind is: What would it be life to give myself totally to God? How can I organize my time, my habits, my thoughts and actions to become instruments of spiritual formation? I hope that you will continue to walk the journey with me. And to guide me today I pray this prayer – one version of St Patrick’s prayer known as “the deer’s cry”

This day I call to me;

God’s strength to direct me,

God’s power to sustain me.

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s vision to light me,

God’s ear to my hearing,

God’s word to my speaking,

God’s hand to uphold me,

God’s pathway before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

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In the Power of the Triune God

Celtic cross Mayne Island

One of the spiritual disciplines that is really helping during this season of my life is the writing of prayers. Celtic Christians believed that life was embraced on all sides by God and that God was present alongside, behind, before, above and below. They experienced God as guest, fellow traveller, friend, fellow worker, brother, companion and comforter. This has certainly been my experience over the last couple of weeks.

I hope that you enjoy this prayer I wrote a couple of days ago with these thoughts in mind.

I will enter this day

In the power of the triune One.

God of life,

Christ of love,

Spirit of guiding.

Ignite within me a fire of love,

Its flame in my heart for all to see.

Let it shine for neighbours

And be generous to strangers.

Let I express compassion for friends,

And show forgiveness to foes.

Let it reach the lowliest creatures that live

And exalt Christ’s name which is highest of all.

This day and every day

Triune God,

Creator of life,

Christ of love,

Spirit of guiding,

Ignite within me a fire of love.

You Are the Peace of All Things Calm – Another Celtic Prayer

Here is another beautiful Celtic prayer that I find relaxing and comproting.

Lord you are the calm.002

Still Listening to the Celtic Saints

Brendan's voyage

I am starting to get ready for this year’s Celtic retreat at the site of the future Mustard Seed Village. This is one of my sacred spaces, a thin place where heaven always seems but a breath away. This year’s theme is Celebrating the Newness. There are many new things emerging in MSA and new things that God is giving birth to within all of us. We want to celebrate and encourage this newness.

I am working with Ryan Marsh of Church of the Beloved to put our program together. He has wonderfully creative ideas of how to use the voyage of St Brendan in our retreat. I am delighted with the fresh new approach and what is emerging. Tomorrow I will meet with Kendra Long and chat about how to incorporate the same themes into the children’s program. We also hope to initiate a new program for youth this year. What began as a gathering for half a dozen people in the Camano State park over 20 years ago has become the central gathering event for Mustard Seed Associates.

This may be our 22nd retreat but there is a newness and freshness to what is emerging that I am really excited about. It’s time to sign up if you want to take advantage of the early bird special. I hope that you can join us.

In getting ready for my meetings with those helping to develop the program I came across this beautiful prayer that was written by Jennifer Parker Reeves at a retreat I conducted on Learning from the Celtic Saints a few years ago. I thought that some of you would appreciate it.

Christ around me, Christ within me
Spirit in my soul, Spirit in my mind.
God my Father, God my mother, in my body, in my life
In my rushing, in my anger, my impatience and my pride
God is with me, offering mercy, peace, trust and love.
Stillness, stillness, I choose stillness.
The presence of my God is here.
In that stillness, find my center
I see who I was made to be.
Hope grace, Lord have mercy.
Next time I rush, call me back to center.
When I get angry, call me to confession.
When my pride dictates my movements
remind me of your grace once more.
Stillness, stillness, I choose stillness
The presece of my God is here.

One Final Celebration of Light Before Lent

Let the light shine

This last Sunday was Candlemas which commemorates the dedication of Christ in the temple. To be honest this is not a feast that I have bothered with in the past but on Sunday our preacher made a comment that really caught my attention. It is the last celebration of light before we enter the painful journey of Lent next week he said. Lets celebrate the light before we take off the festive clothes of Christmas for the last time.

Traditionally at this festival, people brought all the candles they expected to use during the year to have them blessed. This really impressed me because it so happened that on Saturday I brought what I expect will be the year’s supply of light too. A whole bunch of LED lights to replace the last of our incandescent bulbs. This week as I go around replacing these I plan to reflect on the blessing of light, not just the blessing of artificial lights that enable us to see in the midst of dark places, but the blessing of Christ’s light which shines in all the dark places of our lives and of our world. And I will reflect too on the coming of Lent, in some ways a dark season, but in others a season of dawning light in which we expose the dark and hidden places that we previously have not allowed the light of Christ to penetrate. 

Perhaps you would like to take time this week to bless the lights that will see you through the year – not just the physical lights but the spiritual lights too. What are the resources you expect will illumine your darkness and give you light? And to start your journey you may like to reflect on this beautiful Celtic prayer:

Christ as a light, illumine and guide us.

Christ as a shield, overshadow and cover us.

Christ be under us, Christ be over us.

Christ be beside us, on left and on right.

Christ be before us, Christ be behind us.

Christ be within us, Christ be without us.

Christ as a light, illumine and guide us

 

 

Prayers for the Journey

I just realized that it is two weeks since I last posted prayers from Light for the Journey and thought it was time to remedy that. Because there have been so many posted I will break this into two posts. The second should go up on Friday.

God by the leading of a star

O God, by the leading of a star
you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth:
Lead us, who know you now by faith,
to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen. (Contemplative network)

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God pierce our hearts with your love,
Break them open into greater capacity,
Break them open ,
That we might hold more of the world’s suffering and joy,
That we might share more of the world’s despair and hope.
Lord break our hearts,
As we stand in the gap between what is and what could be,
Break our hearts open
To a largeness that holds the possibility of a better future for all the world’s people.

(Christine Sine)

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by faithandworship.com

by faithandworship.com

Dear Jesus, as You led the Magi to You by the light of a star,

please draw us ever closer to You by the light of Faith.

Help us to desire You as ardently as they did.

Give us the grace to overcome all the obstacles that keep us far from You.

May we, like them, have something to give You when we appear before You.

Amen.  (The Contemplative Network)

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Another beautiful Celtic prayer
GOD WITH ME LYING DOWN
God with me lying down,
God with me rising up,
God with me in each ray of light,
Nor I a ray of joy without him,
Nor one ray without him.

Christ with me sleeping,
Christ with me waking,
Christ with me watching,
Every day and night,
Each day and night.

God with me protecting,
The Lord with me directing,
The Spirit with me strengthening,
Forever and forevermore,
Ever and evermore, Amen.
Chief of chiefs, Amen.

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Yesterday evening, I (Micha Jazz) sat chatting with a dear friend facing challenging times, and they spoke of the encouragement of maintaining hope. I found this prayer for Hope which I offer to us all today, regardless of circumstance, aware that without hope we lose all sense of direction and purpose.

A Prayer for Hope

Heavenly father, I am your humble servant,
I come before you today in need of hope.
There are times when I fell helpless,
There are times when I feel weak.
I pray for hope.
I need hope for a better future.
I need hope for a better life.
I need hope for love and kindness.

Some say that the sky is at it’s
darkest just before the light.
I pray that this is true, for all seems dark.
I need your light, Lord, in every way.

I pray to be filled with your light from
head to toe. To bask in your glory.
To know that all is right in the world,
as you have planned, and as you want
it to be.

Help me to walk in your light, and live
my life in faith and glory.

In your name I pray, Amen.

Read more:

Photo: Yesterday evening, I sat chatting with a dear friend facing challenging times, and they spoke of the encouragement of maintaining hope. I found this prayer for Hope which I offer to us all today, regardless of circumstance, aware that without hope we lose all sense of direction and purpose. A Prayer for Hope Heavenly father, I am your humble servant, I come before you today in need of hope. There are times when I fell helpless, There are times when I feel weak. I pray for hope. I need hope for a better future. I need hope for a better life. I need hope for love and kindness. Some say that the sky is at it’s darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for all seems dark. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe. To bask in your glory. To know that all is right in the world, as you have planned, and as you want it to be. Help me to walk in your light, and live my life in faith and glory. In your name I pray, Amen. Read more: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/prayer-for-hope.html#ixzz2HMoQNnGE

A Beautiful Celtic Prayer

I posted this on the Light for the Journey Facebook page this morning and thought that some of you might appreciate it too.

God to enfold me.001

An Old Irish Blessing by Denes Agay

I love Irish Blessings and as I get ready to travel to Australia tomorrow this seemed a very appropriate one to post.

A Favourite Celtic Prayer

cross Clonmacnois

Celtic cross Clonmacnois

Here is another of my favourite Celtic prayers. We will use this to close off the time at our Celtic retreat this weekend.

(The Rising)

Let us go forth,

In the goodness of our merciful Father,

In the gentleness of our brother Jesus,

In the radiance of the Holy Spirit,

In the faith of the apostles,

In the joyful praise of the angels,

In the holiness of the saints,

In the courage of the martyrs.

 

Let us go forth,

In the wisdom of our all-seeing Father,

In the patience of our all-loving brother,

In the truth of the all-knowing Spirit,

In the learning of the apostles

In the gracious guidance of the angels,

In the patience of the saints,

In the self control of the martyrs,

Such is the path for all servants of Christ,

The path from death to eternal life

The Deer’s Cry – Another Beautiful Celtic Prayer

In response to the prayer of Columba that I posted last week Carol Stoner sent me this beautiful rendition of another well known Celtic prayer called The Deer’s Cry. This is a part of Patrick’s Breastplate which Irish composer Shaun Davey put to some wonderful music in his CD “The Pilgrim”.It was just what I needed this morning. Enjoy.