Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'New Beginnings' meditation

The New Year is a time to stake stock, to say thank you to God for all that has been and to move forward into what will be. You may want to make a list of the treasures of 2009: friends, family, collegues, events, health, employment, financial provision, answered prayer etc. Then click on my video meditation below and enjoy...



New Beginnings
New year,
new hope,
fresh challenges.
A chance to let go
-to leave behind
what was,
and adventure
into what will be...
(Liz Babbs, p.43 The Restful Heart)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Smooring the Fire' Prayer

The Celts believed that God was with them in every aspect of their daily lives. Whatever the task or time of day, there was a special prayer to be said.  I love this 'Smooring the Fire' prayer as it reminds me of families gathering together around the fire at Christmas and New Year. With all the snow we've had here in the UK and more on the way, I think many of us will be turning up our heating or throwing extra logs on the fire as we huddle together to keep warm.

Smooring the Fire
The sacred Three
To save,
To surround
The hearth,
The household,
This eve,
This night,
Oh! this eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night.
Amen
(from Carmina Gadelica p.32 Celtic Treasure)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Liz reads 'On Lindisfarne' from Celtic Treasure

I've just been to Stratford-upon-Avon where I had the privilege of talking about Celtic Christianity and sharing some of my prayers and poems from Celtic Treasure. I had no idea that the venue Red Hill, was the place where Ray Simpson and others held their original meetings to set up the Community of Aidan and Hilda - what a God-incidence! Here is a clip from the end of my presentation where I read 'On Lindisfarne'.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Meditation on Psalm 139

I'm delighted that so many folk are enjoying my new video on YouTube, especially during this busy season. So just take 5 minutes now and allow God to enfold you in his love. (Words and music taken from The Celtic Heart).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ninian's Catechism


The New Oxford American Dictionary describes the word catechism as 'a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of a series of questions and answers'. I love the simplicity of St Ninian's Catechism which is taken from the book Celtic Fire by Robert Van de Weyer:

Question: What is best in this world?
Answer: To do the will of our Maker.
Question: What is his will?
Answer: That we should live according to the laws of his creation.
Question: How do we know those laws?
Answer: By study - studying the Scriptures with devotion.
Question: What tool has our Maker provided for this study?
Answer: The intellect, which can probe everything.
Question: And what is the fruit of study?
Answer: To perceive the eternal Word of God reflected in every plant and insect, every bird and animal, and every man and woman.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Beautiful Celtic-style prayer to bless your day

I love this beautiful prayer that David Cole has just posted on the Celtic Christian Spirituality Facebook page. So I thought I'd share it with you here. If you have prayers written in the Celtic-style, do send them to me and I'll share them.

May you know the strength of the Spirit as you walk today
May you know the peace of the Spirit as you rest today
May you know the power of the Spirit as you seek change today
May you know the source of the Spirit as you grow today.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Celtic Treasure Photo competition




















I've seen some very amusing photos of folk reading my book in America and so I'm holding a competition for the funniest photo. And yes, there will be a prize. I'm just wondering what Keltic Ken is hiding behind his Celtic Treasure!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hear Me on Cross Rhythms Radio and American Internet Radio KDRU


Here is the link below of my interviews on Celtic Treasure. The Cross Rhythms interview is just 5 minutes long and is voiced over Iona's beautiful instrumental, Luke the Calf from the Book of Kells.
The second interview is my first US radio interview and last around 40 minutes. I was interviewed by Ken for KRDU Radio, California.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Desert Island Celtic books!


If you were marooned on a desert island and were only allowed to take one Celtic book, plus your Bible, which one would it be?
You'll see my selection, though I cheated and had two in my previous blog! But if I had to chose just one, it would be Celtic Daily Prayer by the Northumbria Community because it is so rich and varied and would sustain me for years.

Quaker Abbey chose Celtic Daily Prayer, but I like Pastor Chris Monroe's response here:
"That's easy to answer! It's the one that's held together with duct tape because I take it everywhere Celtic Daily Prayer. You can see my interview with Pastor Chris on Celtic Christianity by visiting his DesertFather blog.
Keltic Ken chose my book! Here's his response:
"Celtic Treasure - It points me to Christ, features scripture and original prose...and, the lovely photographs will be a welcome change from the same old scenery on that desert island!!!"

Friday, October 2, 2009

Favourite Celtic Christian books - join in the conversation









These books are my top desert island choices. If I were only allowed 2 Celtic books on my desert island, these are the two I'd chose. I love many others, of course, and many of them are listed in the choices below:
Quaker Abbey
Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community
with Introduction by Richard Foster.
James C. Elliott
"The Celtic Way of Prayer: The Recovery of the Religious Imagination", by Esther De Waal I re-read it every Lenten season.
My wife uses the Northumbria Daily and Night Prayer (when we got them, they were in two volumes), I use the Glenstal Abbey Prayer Book and the one put out by the St. Aidan Trust, USA, an order she and I are both contemplating joining, and a companion to the Order of Aidan and Hilda, connected with Ray Simpson!
Wes Connell Just finished "The Path of Celtic Prayer
by one of my favorite authors - Calvin Miller. Good Stuff, the chapter on Lorica Prayer was exceptionally good.
I am going to be starting a small group discussion on the book "The Celtic Way of Evangelism" by G
eorge
Hunter who I met at a conference a few years ago. He is good friends with Ray Simpson and suggested I visit the Lindisfarne community if I ever get a chance. He says they are living out authentic Celtic Christianity daily.
Madeline Cotter
I mainly read Ray Simpson's books, '
Pilgrim Way',' Celtic Daily Light','High Street Monasteries' and others. I have read some of Esther de Waal, at present I am reading 'The Story of Holy Island' Kate Tristram's new book.
For daily prayer I use the 4 Celtic Prayer books by Ray Simpson and a very useful hand book 'Prayer Rythms for Busy People', also by Ray Simpson, the Guardian of the Community of Aidan & Hilda, to which I am pleased to be a member.
Viv Neville
A Celtic PsalterMorning & Evening Prayer - Philip Newell
This prayer book draws you deeply into stillness & silence. Really beautiful prayers.
Susan Gaddis
Celtic Daily Prayer--my morning coffee & bedtime prayer book;
The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter III--awesome book;
The Path of Celtic Prayer by Calvin Miller--great application stuff;
Listening for the Heartbeat of God by J. Philip Newell--very helpful in understanding the history of Celtic spirituality;
The Celtic Way of Prayer & Every Earthly Blessing by Esther De Waal;
The Pattern of our Days by Kathy Galloway;
Edward C. Sellner's two books on Celtic Soul Friends and his great book on Wisdom of the Celtic Saints--for stories of the Celtic saints.
Thanks for compiling a list for us all to glean from. I'm looking forward to your blog list.
Glenna Sloan
Carmina Gadelica.
Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne
Quaker Abbey
Glenna, I had a summer reading club meet at my home last year and they are still passing the Fidelma series among others at All Saints Episcopal Church here in Portland, Oregon. I gave them deep background for each session and gave handouts. We'd just done one of the Philip Newell books in the spring term.
Rosalyn Smaill

In the order in which I came across them, my favourite Celtic books are:
Celt & Saxon - the Struggle for Britain by Peter Beresford Ellis, a refreshing look at British history
Exploring Celtic Spirituality, by Ray Simpson
Celtic Fire, by Robert van De Weyer
Celtic Daily Prayer, Northumbria Community
They are all, in my mind, worth reading, exploring, praying. I hope you enjoy them!

Liz Babbs
No one has mentioned David Adams' books of Celtic prayers. They are very popular here.
Plus my thanks to Hans Erdman who has uncovered a Celtic children's book St. Brendan and the Voyage Before Columbus by Mike McGrew and Marnie Saenz Litz (Illustrator)

What are your favourite Celtic books?


Folk are beginning to ask me what other Celtic books I'd recommend. So I thought I'd pick your brains and ask you which books you particularly enjoyed, as there is such a range out there. I even have another gift book The Celtic Heart (Lion Hudson 2003) which has been very popular, with free CD of original Celtic instrumental music composed by my friend Simeon Wood. Simeon is a professional Christian musician who even performs on the QE2! The CD is a beautiful weave of Celtic whistles, flute, pan pipes etc. Simeon and I performed Celtic Heart for many years as a concert presentation, taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can buy it from Amazon or get a signed copy direct from my website www.lizbabbs.com

Relax to the beautiful evocative Celtic song 'Skellig'


Many thanks to James C Elliot who posted this link on my Facebook page. It is a YouTube video set to the music of Loreena McKennitt's 'Skellig'. Skellig is an ancient Celtic monastic settlement in Ireland that I am dying to visit. I mention it in Celtic Treasure. The video is wonderfully evocative with beautiful music and has some great lyrics and visuals. It really transported me into the presence of God. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zE3oAZnsuc

Celtic Prayer for Writers


As I spend much of my time writing, this beautiful Celtic prayer is especially meaningful. I first spotted it in the book Celtic Fire by Robert Van de Weyer (DLT, London 1990) .

The Scribe
My hand is weary from writing; my sharp quill is not steady; as its tender tip spits it dark, blue stream, the words which are formed on the page are jagged and uncertain.

O Lord, may it be your wisdom, not my folly, which passes through my arm and hand; may your words take shape upon the page. For when I am truly faithful to your decision, my hand is firm and strong.

Let me never write words that are callous or profane; let your priceless jewels shine upon these pages.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sometimes Amazon reviewers can sum up Celtic Treasure better than I can!


5.0 out of 5 starsInspires us with the lives and spirituality of the Celtic saints 11 Sep 2009
Nick Wilson *****
This is a fascinating and inspiring book at so many levels. The photography is stunning, with images from the islands of Iona and Lindisfarne as well as more everyday views of creation. But it is the way the author describes each of the Celtic saints, draws out the common themes and applies them to today which is most powerful. She sets the context - the Roman influenced church had been proscriptive and compartmentalised. But as that empire drew to a close the Celtic spirituality, with its emphasis on the spiritual being integral to all aspects of life, was able to spread with the Celts as they set up new communities. She describes each of the saints and draws on their lives and writing; all were flawed (St Columba being banished from Ireland because of his temper) but were used powerfully by God and their influence continues. She talks about the 'thin places', often remote, natural places where where God's presence was most easily sensed. And she draws on aspects of Celtic spirituality; prayer as part of everyday life, celebrating creativity not as an object of worship but something for which God should be praised, community and the 'rule of life' still binding together dispersed communities such as the Northumbria Community and hospitality, welcoming and caring for the stranger.

Celtic Treasure explains how to connect with a time and way of life which in some ways can seem out-dated. But what shines through is how the ancient Celts were in touch with creation, with each other and with their creator, and how their spirituality permeated everything they did. Be inspired to draw on their way of life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Loving the poor

The Celts saw Christ as a champion of the poor and downcast and this was modelled in their care for the poor, as can be seen in this poem taken from the Celtic Fire - An Anthology of Celtic Christian Literature by Robert Van do Weyer:

Remember the Poor
Remember the poor when you look out on fields you own, on your plump cows grazing.
Remember the poor when you look into you barn, at the abundance of your harvest.
Remember the poor when the wind howls and the rain falls, as you sit warm and dry in your house.
The cows have grass to eat, the rabbits have burrows for shelter, the birds have warm nests.
But the poor have no food except what you feed them, no shelter except your house when you welcome them, no warmth except your glowing fire.

I wonder what the modern day equivalent of this prayer might be.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Coracle and The Unknown Journey


Next weekend Monos - a centre for the study of monastic culture and spirituality, is offering a coracle making weekend at the monastery, Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. It sounds like a wonderful monastic mix of prayer and manual work with each person going home with their very own coracle at the end of the weekend. I think it's a brilliant idea and would loved to have joined them, thought I'm not sure I have room for a coracle in my house.

The theme of the weekend is The Unknown Journey, which is seen as a motif for Christian living. There will be plenty of sharing about the Irish monks and their travels. These monks took to the open seas, risking everything and trusted that wherever the wind blew them, the Holy Spirit was leading them. They then set up community wherever they landed caring for those around them. It was an unknown journey, and one requiring complete surrender and trust in God.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beautiful ancient Celtic prayer by St Columba

I was away on retreat this weekend and as part of the monastic rhythm of my local retreat house, you can join in praying the Divine Office at various points in the day. Today, during the Vigil Office, I came across this lovely ancient Celtic prayer by St Columba:

Kindle in our hearts, O God,
the flame of that love which never ceases,
that it may burn in us, giving light to others.
May we shine for ever in your temple,
set on fire with your eternal light,
even your Son Jesus Christ,
our Saviour and our Redeemer.
Amen.

Columba (597)

(Taken from the Vigil Office, 'Common Worship Daily Prayer', Church House Publishing.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feedback from my Celtic Treasure interview

I've already had some very interesting feedback from my first American interview in under 24 hours! God bless social networking and the Internet. It's interesting that folk responded to this blog and my radio interview on Facebook. Maybe people don't like writing comments on blogs any more. I don't mind, because I just love to hear from folk and right now Facebook is buzzing. Here are some of the comments posted:

"Great interview I appreciated the comments about the Celtic Christians enjoying community and the simple things in life as that seems to be where God is calling many of us. Both of your comments on mission reminded me of George G. Hunter III's book, The Celtic Way of Evangelism, emphasizing the Celtic way of community mission vs. the Roman model. I hope we do see more of that here in the states as it seems more scriptural to me. Isn't it interesting that such an ancient Christian way can seem so odd to our US churches and yet we often stand so proudly as the leader of the "correct" way of doing things. The interview was refreshing. Thank you for the insights. I hope many enjoy this "quiet little book." Susan Gaddis (USA)

"Your book arrived yesterday and it's beautiful! That's not only true outwardly (the pics and thick coated paper and artwork), but inwardly too (the poems and prayers and stories)! Keltic Ken sent me the link for the interview you and he just finished -- I so enjoyed that! Now I'm looking forward to interviewing you more than ever for my blog (paradoxology.com)." Chris Monroe (Pastor in California)

"Hi Liz.. up late working here - thought I'd take a break and have a quick listen to the interview.. I thought it gave a really good overview of the book and where you are coming from. I pray that it gets in to the hands of many many people as I'm sure God will speak to them through it.. Blessings!" Andy Green." (UK musician)

Here's my first American radio interview on Celtic Treasure

I've just been interviewed by Ken about Celtic Treasure, for KDRU radio in California. I don't think I've ever done such a long distance radio interview before. Isn't technology amazing. Ken was very patient, because first I managed to drop my cup of tea all over myself, just before the interview and so needed to ice pack the burn. Then, part way through the interview, I lost my voice! Ken must have thought that I was a disaster area. However, nothing seemed to phase him as he was a total professional. The whole interview lasts just under 30 minutes. You can hear the interview - minus the "ouch" from hot tea, by clicking on this link:
http://www.gcast.com/u/KelticKen/www_lizbabbs_com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Media coverage of Celtic Treasure


If you want to find out more on celebrating life Celtic-style, I've written an article for Woman Alive magazine which is in this month's issue. I will also post this article up on my website and blog next month.


Later today, though, I'm going to do my first American Internet radio interview. Facebook is a great way to connect, and I 'met' my interviewer through the Celtic Treasure Group I've set up there. Ken's radio station in California is called KRDU and can be found by visiting http://www.krdu1130.com
I'll let you know when the interview is available on podcast.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quick Guide to enjoying life Celtic-style


While the West values money, fame, power and success, unearthing the treasures from the Celtic tradition, can enrich and transform our lives. Here’s a quick outline of some of these riches:


Caring for Creation

Celtic Christians cared for the environment and rejoiced in creation. Like the well known Celtic symbol, the Celtic knot, they could see God woven into everything and celebrated him in every aspect of their lives. They enjoyed his presence even when doing the most mundane of tasks like milking the cows, or kindling the fire and they said special prayers to accompany these activities. (See yesterdays blog).


Simplicity

Their simple lifestyle, uncluttered by materialism, enabled them to appreciate more fully the generosity and abundance of God. And they thanked God for everything in their daily lives, like the sunrise, the provision of food and the blessing of friends:


Bless to us, O God

The morning sun that is above us,

The good earth that is beneath us,

The friends that are around us,

Your image deep within us,

The day which is before us.

St Patrick


Joy and Community was integral to the Celts way of life, because it was seen as being part of the abundant life God promises in John’s Gospel I came to give life - life in all its fullness (John 10:10 CEV). As the Celts were particularly drawn to the teachings of John they believed God wanted them to celebrate, because having fun is a hallmark of a vibrant community.


Community and Hospitality

The Celts understood that their love of God and each other was at the heart of the Gospel message and so building community and offering hospitality was central to their way of life.


Celebrating Creativity

The Celts were a highly creative people, producing pottery and woodwork, metalwork and elaborate jewellery as well as creating exquisitely beautiful manuscripts like the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.


A ceilidh, which is known today as a popular social dance event, was originally a social gathering and could include story telling, songs, poems, proverbs and ballads, but not necessarily dance. I love the idea of people sharing their God-given creativity in this way, but then creativity was seen as a natural expression of worship to the Celts.


Adapted from Celtic Treasure (Lion Hudson 2009) Liz Babbs


Friday, September 4, 2009

What might Celtic prayers look like today?


I love Celtic prayers because they are so earthed in reality. The Celts had prayers for ordinary everyday tasks like milking the cow or lighting the fire etc. The prayer, Smooring the Fire is a particular favourite of mine and so I was keen to include it in Celtic Treasure.

Smooring the Fire
The Sacred Three
To save,
To surround
The hearth,
The household,
This eve,
This night,
Oh! this eve,
This night,
And every night,
Each single night.
Amen.
(Carmina Gadelica)

I wonder what the equivalent prayers might be today? Maybe, the prayer of having a shower, putting the central heating on, driving my car, going to work, doing emails. It sounds funny to us today, but there is a lot to be said for developing such an attitude of thankfulness.

Delighted folk like Celtic Treasure in the States too.

Treasured Jewelby Gigifal

Reader Rating:
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August 31, 2009: Celtic Spirituality is a treasured jewel for those seeking to deepen their spiritual journey following the pathways of ancient traditions and wisdom gleaned by the Celts. UK author, Liz Babbs, inspires her readers with new insights into the value of such disciplines as hospitality, prayer and solitude, creativity and celebration of life that sustained pilgrims throughout the ages. This book shares the same sensitivity found in her other books, spoken as encouragement from a dear friend. The illustrations bring the words to life and will carry you directly to the Emerald Isle. Whether you are looking for a loving gift to give a friend or a beautiful book for your bedside, Celtic Treasure is your answer.

A Real Treasureby PacJac

Reader Rating:
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August 31, 2009: Informative and inspiring, Liz Babbs, Celtic Treasure, gives the reader a peek into the ancient Celtic lifestyle and unearths spiritual treasures that will refreshen and inspire the reader to greater heights.

A great book for the bedside or as a devotion to jumpstart the day. I recommend this book to those with a thirsty soul, those who have grown weary, or those looking for treasure.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Celtic Treasure launches in America today

I thought with the launch of Celtic Treasure in America today, I'd share something of my journey in writing this book.

My interest in Celtic Christianity came as a result of visiting Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and Iona ( a Scottish island) eight years ago. I was so affected by the overwhelming presence of God in these sacred places that it resulted in me changing the content and title of the gift book I was working on from 'Reflections', to 'The Celtic Heart' (Lion Hudson 2003)! This book has since sold thousands of copies and become my best-selling book, even being published in German by Random House.

Now to level with you about Celtic Treasure. To be honest, I was not looking to write another Celtic book, but God had other ideas. He stopped me in my tracks and gave me a 'picture' of an ancient monastic archway, like the one in this photo of Lindisfarne Priory (founded by St Aidan AD 635). Through this archway, all kinds of folk, who weren't Christians, were coming to God. Some were even dancing and celebrating his presence. And so Celtic Treasure (Lion Hudson 2009) was born. I had an amazing time writing it and it really strengthened my faith.

Those Celtic Saints rock, and without their radical ministry, Britain would not have been a Christian country. No wonder so many folk look to Celtic Christianity for inspiration today.
Celtic Treasure is released across the US today into all kinds of book shops, and I am very excited to see what God will do. Writing is such an adventure with God in control.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

First prayer ever written by a woman!

This is perhaps one of the first prayers written by and for women. It is taken from an Anglo-Saxon source and found in the Nunnaminster Manuscript and written around AD 900 by a nun in a Winchester convent. I found it in my local convent. What an amazing monastic treasure!


On the Ears


O God, my Lord,

who,

in the moment of death,

was deaf to my wretchedness

but with ears open to the inward will

of your Father’s way.

I give you thanks,

and in so doing,

I ask forgiveness for these ears

whose hearing has been polluted

by the evil things that they have heard.

I pray

that never might I have to hear

in the day that will come,

the judge’s sentence

equal to the faults that I have heaped up,

from the fire of your love,

Lord Jesus Christ,

Amen.


(An Anglo-Saxon Passion – David Scott SPCK 1999)