Living the Hours explores what makes the monastic tradition so appealing to ordinary people today who may be discovering a world if spirituality previously hidden from them, or perhaps questioning the balance, priorities and focal points of their lives.
Since its beginnings in the fourth century, monasticism's alternative vision for living has, in different ways, always inspired men and women in the secular world to step outside the routine of everyday life and to give time to reflection and exploration. The monastic day is measured in 'hours' with times for prayer, physical work, study and rest all contributing to a balances, holistic life. This book looks at different expressions of monastic life through the history and at the new monastic movements emerging today and asks how they can teach us in today's consumerist world to live more fully, more consciously aware of how we choose to fill our hours and days.
What insights can monastic wisdom offer for our relationships, our work, our lifestyles, our place in the wider world, our often neglected inner lives? Living the Hours explores these questions with many illuminating examples and stories of individuals, groups and families who are finding in monastic spirituality fresh purpose and a renewed energy for living.
Carmina Gadelica is an anthology of poems and prayers from the Gaelic oral tradition, the most comprehensive ever collected. They came from communities all over the Highlands and Islands of Scotlad, were often shared or performed in the evening ceilidh and therby passed on from generation to generation. Alexander Carmichael complied the collection in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in doing so created a lasting record of a culture and way of life that has now largely disappeared. In the Introduction, Carmichael recounts with great warmth and evident pleasure the hospitality which he received from the people whose songs and stories he was anxious to record "I have three regrets -" he says, "that I had not been earlier collecting, that I have not been more diligent in collecting, and that I am not better qualified to treat what I have collected." Nevertheless, Carmina Gadelica quickly became an invaluable resource for those wanting to study and understand Gaelic culture and for those wanting to experience the beauty and wisdom of its oral literature.
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 ay 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.