The arms of God be around my shoulders,
the touch of the Holy Spirit upon my head;
The sign of Christ’s Cross upon my forehead,
the sound of the Holy Spirit in my ears;
the vision of heaven’s company in my eyes,
the conversation of heaven’s company on my lips;
the work of God’s Church in my hands,
the service of God and neighbor in my feet;
a home for God in my heart, and to
God, the Father of all, my entire being. Amen.
Celtic Spirituality in Daily Life
To the early Celtic Christian there was no distinction between religion and daily life, no division between the spiritual and the material realms. They perceived the divine spirit in every person, every animal and plant, and in every event. And so their religious faith permeated every aspect of their existence. Even the most humdrum and mundane activities required prayers for God’s blessings. And equally, moments of crisis, or scenes of great beauty, stimulate prayers of intense emotion.
The origin of many Celtic poems and prayers is obscure, since they have mostly come down to us by word of mouth. They were collected and written down by scholars in the 19th century, who visited remote regions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall, where the old Celtic languages were still spoken. Much of the material dates back to the great flowering of Celtic Christianity, initiated by the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland in the 5th century. Many of the prayers are attributed to the big three Celtic saints, whose names still excite the Christian soul, Patrick, Brigid and Colmcille. Hermits and evangelists, chieftains and peasants all used these Celtic prayers in daily life as they discovered how the emotions and experiences of daily life could be offered to God.
Celtic Christianity existed in full bloom for two or three centuries and then began to fade, overwhelmed by colder spiritual forces. Yet, since that time, Celtic Christians have consistently rediscovered their loss, as they became inspired afresh with its beauty. Today, they continue to bring their Celtic spirituality out into the open, so that it can inform and sanctify every aspect of human existence and thus equip them to live their faith every minute of every day of every week of every year.