Saturday, November 15, 2014

Number 5: The Carmina Gadelica

Coming in at number five on my top five books on Celtic Christianity is the Carmina Gadelica!

If you'd like to know why so many people are attracted to Celtic Christianity and spirituality this book is for you. Carmina Gadelica, "the songs of the Gales", is a massive collection or prayers and songs in the oral tradition by Alexander Carmichael from way back in the 1800s. Fearing that much of the oral tradition of prayers would be lost, Carmichael travelled throughout Scotland and wrote them down. And what Carmichael collected was simply amazing stuff!

Reading these prayers, one sees that the Celtic mind was God-intoxicated, and God was present and felt everywhere and was "behind" every event. With each page and prayer, one realizes God consciousness at every turn and event, from getting up at sunrise, till sunset, and everything in between! Theologically we would call the Celtic mindset panentheistic-God was in everything.

Fast forward to today, and consider that for most contemporary Christians, prayers are limited to church or the home and typically formal. Frankly, such common prayer seems quite canned and overly formalistic.

Carmina Gadelica is how true Christian prayer was meant to be; spontaneous, lively, of the moment, and in every place. We can thank our Celtic brothers and sisters for reminding us that Christianity and the church is not something linked to buildings and similarly that prayers and not just linked to formal readings each Sunday. 

This volume is a must for any serious student of Celtic Christianity. Read, savor, and be proud of the Celtic tradition of prayer

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