Inspires us with the lives and spirituality of the Celtic saints
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.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
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.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
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.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
Treasured Jewelby Gigifal
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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
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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.