As I get ready for our Celtic retreat now just over a week away, I have been revising the list of the characteristics of Celtic spirituality. We talked about these too at our Celtic curriculum meeting last night which is developing the programme for the SEED semester that will begin September next year. I know that I have shared some of these in the past but they so resonate with who I am and where I am at spiritually that I thought I would share them again today. I know that there is a lot of confusion about this stream of Christianity because so much pagan imagery has come from similar roots. However this is an authentic and vibrant form of Christian faith and one that is attractive to a growing number of people. A faith that embraces all of life, including creation and sees the sacredness of every encounter is so necessary in our world today.
By the way there is still time to sign up for the retreat. It is my favourite event each year
Distinctives of Celtic Christian Spirituality
- Central to Celtic spirituality is incarnation and an intense sense of the presence of God. The Celt was very much a God-intoxicated person whose life was embraced on all sides by the divine Being.
- The presence of Christ was almost physically woven around their lives
- God was treated with awe, reverence and wonder but was essentially seen as a human figure intimately involved in all creation and engaged in a dynamic relationship with it.
- Christ is our “walking companion”. He is our guide, our protector, and we pray with him and can trust him always wherever we go.
- The Trinity is part of God’s eternal family to which we also belong. Each family unit, clan or community was seen as an icon of the Trinity.
- All creation responds to God’s creative presence and sustaining love. God not only encircles and protects creation but also enlivens, activates and inspires it.
- Celtic Christians believed that the “cloud of witnesses” is always with us. They prayed consciously as members of the great company of hosts – the persons of the Trinity, angels and archangels as well as all who have gone before us were all seen as close companions on their journey.
- Through this same host of witnesses God protected them from evil forces and enemies.
- All work is holy – Even mundane little task like washing dishes, milking the cow and sowing crops have sacred significance
- This is parallelled in their identification with the little people, the marginalized & the oppressed. All persons represented God and might be heavenly visitors in disguise.
- Extending hospitality opened a door to the kingdom of God and welcomed Jesus into their midst. It was an important expression of love both toward God and neighbour