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 Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on a long spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within which God has chosen to dwell.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes the powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians through time, and here represented with a vigour and power fresh for our times.
What does it mean to be made 'in the image and likeness of God'? This is the first and defining characteristic of our humanity celebrated in the opening pages of the Bible. Its subsequent record is of the struggle between good and evil in human life, a tension that we face daily within ourselves and in the relationships of our lives.
Western Christian tradition has often given the impression, and sometimes explicitly taught that this tension is primarily between the soul and the body. The result has been a denigration of the human body and distrust of our deepest physical desires. We no longer recognise within ourselves the characteristics of the divine image. Yet written into the vey fabric of our being in the mystery, wisdom, strength, beauty, creativity, eternity and presence of God.
This profound and challenging book clears away centuries of misunderstanding, confusion and shame that have damaged our self-perception. Drawing on both Jewish and Celtic Christian sources of spirituality, Philip Newell leads us to discover the sacredness of our souls and our bodies. Our present day assumptions about love, beauty, sexuality and worth are transformed by this truly ground-breaking book.
Listening for the Heartbeat of God presents a spirituality for today, modelled on the vital characteristics of Celtic spirituality through the centuries. there is an emphasis on the essential goodness of creation and of humanity, made in the image of God. The book traces the lines of Celtic spirituality from the British Church in the fourth century through to the twentieth century, in the founder of the Iona community, George MacLeod.
Philip Newell finds Celtic spiritual roots in the New Testament, in the mysticism of St John the Evangelist. John was especially remembered as the one who lay against Jesus at the Last Supper and heard the heartbeat of God. So he becomes a Celtic image of listening to God in all of life. This fresh angle on Celtic spirituality - linking figures in the Bible and in the British Christian history - will be warmly welcomed by all who are concerned to refresh the roots of their faith.
The Revd Dr J Philip Newell is a poet, scholar and teacher. Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey, he is now Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Centre of Casa del Sol in the high desert of New Mexico. Newell has won international acclaim for his work in the field of Celtic spirituality.