Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Celtic Spirituality

Thanks again to Catholic Answers Forums, I've discovered a wonderful website on Celtic Prayer. There is a lot of great stuff here on Celtic Spirituality. I'll begin by highlighting their 8 Rules of Celtic Spirituality.

Rule One: LIFE IS A JOURNEY AND WE ARE ALL PILGRIMS ON THE WAY.
The website suggests that detachment is the key to this rule. Since we are all on a journey, the "stuff" of this life is only here for the purpose of leading us to God. Our job, as the old Catechism states, is to "know God, to love Him, to serve Him in this life, and to be with Him forever in the next."

Rule Two: THE SPIRITUAL AND THE PHYSICAL MAKE UP THE REAL WORLD; THEREFORE, OUR PRAYER LIFE IS OUR WHOLE LIFE.
This rule is characteristic of Benedictine Spirituality as well. One's spirituality should be a part of the everyday tapestry of daily life. All work is sacred, and, as such, should be offered up to God each day.

Hospitality is a part of this rule, as it is also a part of the Rule of St. Benedict. As many saints have told us, Jesus often comes to us in the guise of others who need us; who need our prayers and our hospitality.

Rule Three: REVERENCE CREATION AND HER CREATURES, FOR THEY ARE WINDOWS TO GOD.
This, of course, brings to mind St. Francis of Assisi. Creation is given to us by God and not to be taken for granted, wasted, or abused. God gave us creation to teach us about Love.

Rule Four: THE DOOR TO GOD CAN ONLY BE OPENED BY THE SPIRIT OF SELF-SACRIFICE.
Self sacrifice is what all vocations are about. It is what makes marriage and family work. It is sorely needed in today's society. Part of this idea of sacrifice also includes the unpopular notion of self-denial. Doing without is a necessary part of life and of spirituality. Jesus himself does not say "if you fast" but "when you fast." Remember too, that fasting does not just include food. One can fast from all types of things that are brought into our spirits via our various senses so that we can better hear the Voice of God.

Rule Five: LOVE THE CROSS OF CHRIST BY WHICH WE ARE REDEEMED.
Don't forget the cross. There are those who wear a cross or crucifix merely for decoration, but it was the means of our salvation. Don't be afraid to wear it and reverence it. Hang a crucifix in your home to remind you of God's gift.

Also, don't forget the sign of the cross. It is a way to begin and end all prayer. Parents can make the sign of the cross over their children each night before they go to sleep.

Rule Six: HAVE A DEEP KNOWLEDGE OF AND A REVERENCE FOR THE EMBRACING LOVE OF MARY, THE ANGELS, AND THE SAINTS.
The Communion of Saints is one of the most comforting teachings of our Church. We have waiting for us on the other side, people who have "fought the good fight" and are now interceding for us to God. Make sure you have pictures, holy cards, and icons of the saints. After all, they are our family portraits.

Rule Seven: LOVE THE MASS AND EUCHARIST; PRAY THE SCRIPTURES; CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE FREQUENTLY; SEEK OUT A SOUL FRIEND.
The Mass is our salvation on earth. It is where the Lord comes down, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, to us, each and every day. What a comfort and privledge we are given while still exiled here. Even when we can't receive the Eucharist, we can make frequent spiritual communions, attend Mass, and Adoration.

There are many ways to read scriptures daily. There are programs to read the bible in a year. There are good study bibles to read on your own. There is also the Divine Office of readings, which gives you some of the Bible daily. Check out the Magnificat Magazine, which gives you morning and evening prayer, the Mass readings, a short reflection, and even a monthly commentary on a sacred work of art. It also has suggested hymns for each day. Truly a wonderful way to pray.

The Sacrament of Penance is a difficult concept for many, even those who are practicing Catholics. From a psychological standpoint alone, though, it is healthy for us to regularly face up to our weaknesses and ask for God's help in overcoming them. The Celtic idea of a Soul Friend (anamarchara) is similar. If your "soul friend"/spiritual director is not your confessor, make sure you don't neglect confession. It is a very powerful and life-changing Sacrament.

Rule Eight: USE THE LORICA
The Lorica is a Celtic prayer that has three aspects. First, it addresses the Holy Trinity. Second, it is immediate and deals with finding God in the world around us--whatever that world happens to be--rural, urban or in between. Third, The Lorica asks God to protect you and your loved ones--not in some nebulous future, but in the immediate--in the "now".

The most famous Lorica is the prayer known as Saint Patrick's Breastplate.

I bind unto myself this day,
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

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 the hearts of all that love me,
Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.
- From the Lorica of St. Patrick

6 comments:

Matthew said...

This is a great post!

Staying in Balance said...

Thanks!

Unknown said...

Gotta love Celtic Spirituality and St. Patrick!

Staying in Balance said...

I thought of you when I posted this, Danny!

Ginny said...

Thanks for all this useful information
Great Post!
Nothing like Celtic Spirituality!!

Staying in Balance said...

You're welcome!

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