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.
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.
Never mock what others say. Perhaps their words are full of nonsense.Perhaps they are trying to puff themselves up.Perhaps they like hearing the sound of their voices.Perhaps they are trying to deceive their hearers.Perhaps they are foolish and dim.Perhaps they are more clever than wise.Yet amidst the useless clayYou may find jewels beyond price.The word of God is in every heart,And can speak through every voice.
Never mock (p.104)
This collection of stories, meditations, poems and prayers evokes the authentic spirit of Celtic Christianity. Capturing the atmosphere of parables passed down through generations, it shows the human warmth, respect for the natural world and robust, down-to-earth qualities for which Celtic spirituality is so greatly valued.
With its rich treasury of material – most of it previously unavailable in modern editions – Celtic Parables offers a fresh lively introduction to the Celtic world. It will appeal to all those fascinated by our Celtic heritage and the way it speaks directly to us today.
There is a traditional saying of ancient wisdom: 'A threshold is a sacred thing. In some places of the world, in some traditional cultures and in monastic life, this is still remembered. It is something, however, that we often forget today. To take time to pause at a threshold - be it a place, or a moment between one action and the next - is to show reverence for the handling of space and time, and respect for those who we meet. Pausing allows us to let go of all the demands and expectations of the previous activity, and to prepare for the encounter with another. Esther de Waal explores what this ancient wisdom has to teach us about our public lives in the world today.