In the Celtic way of prayer, the divine glory was intertwined with the ordinariness of everyday events like the patterns on carvings and in illuminated Gospels.
The modern prayers in this book beautifully recapture that tradition. They were composed in a small parish in the north of England to help individuals and groups rediscover the use of life's simple rhythms in their worship of the Eternal Presence.
Here are prayers for individual devotions and for corporate worship, as well as for quiet days and retreats.
From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne – the 'dark ages' – learning, scholarship and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilisation – from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish Christian works – would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of the unconquered Ireland.
In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known 'hinge' of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the 'island of saints and scholars', the Ireland of St Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes labouriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West's written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilisation, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western civilisation.
The isles in the title of this book are the Hebrides which lie between the west of Scotland and the north of Ireland, and the songs are the prayers an blessings which originated there between the sixth and ninth centuries. They remained a purely oral tradition until a hundred years ago when Alexander Carmichael collected and published them as Carmina Gadelica, the source book that led to the revival of Celtic spirituality today. These prayers and songs capture the remarkable spiritual vision of a people keeping faith through good and ill, ekeing out an existence in a world that was often harsh and inhospitable. They rejoice at the birth of a child o a good harvest, glory in natural beauty, lament in suffering, cry out for help or protection, and invoke God's blessing on even the most humble tasks. Until now we have only known them in the Victorian language of Carmichael's collection, bu in Kathleen Jones' fresh translation, thir poetic simplicity and power is fully revealed and we hear authentic Celtci voices speaking with conviction about life and death, hearth and home, land and sea, and the journey of the soul beneath the protecting power of heaven.
This rich and diverse collection of texts newly translated from Latin, Irish and Welsh marks a landmark in the study of Celtic Christianity. In these pages we find saints' lives, sermons, liturgy, monastic rules, penitentials and exegesis a well as devotional texts, poems, and works of theology. The effect is to create a sense of a Christian civilisation that is deeply life-arffirming, imbued with a pervasive sense of divine presence and wonderfully at ease with itself.