Sunday, March 17, 2013

Something Celtic

  In honor of St. Patrick's day, some features of  Celtic Spirituality...

  • Love of nature and a passion for the wild and elemental as a reminder of God's gift.
  • Love and respect for art and poetry.
  • Love and respect for the great stories and higher learning.
  • Sense of God and the saints as a continuing, personal, helpful presence.
  • Theologically orthodox, yet with heavy emphasis on the Trinity, and a love and respect for Mary, the Incarnation of Christ, and liturgy.
  • Thin boundaries between the sacred and the secular.
  • Unique Church structure: there were originally no towns, just nomadic settlements, hence the church was more monastic rather than diocesan, resulting in quite independent rules and liturgies.
  • Ireland was very isolated; it was hard to impose outside central Roman authority.
  • Influenced much by middle-eastern and Coptic monasticism.
  • Monasteries were often huge theocratic villages often associated with a clan with the same kinship ties, along with slaves, freemen, celibate monks, married clergy, professed lay people, men and women living side by side.
  • While some monasteries were in isolated places, many more were at the crossroads of provincial territories.
  • Women had more equal footing in ancient Irish law, thus had more equal say in church governance.
  • Developed the idea of having a "soul friend" (anamchara) to help in spiritual direction.
  • Invented personal confession.
  • Oral word-based culture; most of the people were illiterate but had great memorization skills. They loved to hear great stories.
  • A sense of closeness and immanence between the natural and supernatural.
  • A mandate for hospitality.
  • Emphasis on family and kinship ties
  • (from All Saints Parish in Brookline, MA)


Casting a Caim/Ring of Protection

Casting a caim is a technique that was used by the Christian Celts, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and it is still valid. Draw an invisible circle around yourself with your right index finger by extending your arm towards the ground and turning clockwise with the sun. As you do this, become aware that you are safe and encompassed by the love of God: that you are encircled, enfolded and protected.
Circle me Lord
Keep hope within
Keep doubt without
Circle me Lord
Keep protection near
And danger afar
Art by Cari Buziak
Circle me Lord
Keep peace within
Keep evil out
Circle me Lord
Keep light near
And darkness afar

May You be a bright flame before me
May You be a guiding star above me,
May You be a smooth path below me,
And a loving Guide behind me,
Today, tonight, and forever.

*Cross image by Cari Buziak

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