Celtic Prayer Retreat – Litany and Lectio Divina

by Christine Sine

Celtic retreat program

The second litany we used on Saturday incorporated a couple of ancient Celtic prayers and the practice of lectio divina. We adapted this practice so that participants had time alone, time in small groups and then time to share in the whole group. It was a powerful and productive time for all of us. And you might like to check out the first litany from our morning gathering too.

Our altar made from gathered objects

Our altar made from gathered objects

The Celtic Christians believed that hospitality was not only meant to be a custom in their homes, it was a key into the Kingdom of God. To offer hospitality was seen as receiving Christ into their midst and fulfilling the law of love. Brigid, who presided over the monastery at Kildare, was particularly known for her generous hospitality. As a child she often gave away her parents possessions. At Kildare, Brigid often made butter for visitors. Tradition has it that when churning the butter she would make thirteen portions – twelve in honour of the apostles and an extra one in honour of Christ which was reserved for guests and the poor.

Let us sit in silent prayer for a moment to remind ourselves of the incredible hospitality of God who invites us, together with all creation, into the divine presence and into eternal family.

(Silence)

God, we are aliens and sojourners in this world, but you invite us to be your guests.

You lavishly offer us your hospitality and lovingly welcome us into your family. 

You invite us to share in the abundance of your eternal world,

And welcome us to your banquet feast.

The King is knocking.

If you desire your share of heaven on earth,

lift the latch and let in the king of Kings

God you show us that hospitality opens doorways into your eternal world.

Whether the sun is at its height, or the moon and stars pierce the darkness, 

May this place be always open. 

May it never be closed to anyone, lest we should close it to Christ himself.

Whether our guests are rich and noble or poor and ragged, 

No matter how small our larder, may it always be open. 

May we never refuse to share our food, lest the Son of Mary should go hungry.

Pause to remind yourself of ways that God has extended hospitality to you.

Song – Brigid’s Feast  

God we want to fulfill your law of love and be your hospitality to our world, 

We open our hearts to be the hospitality of Christ to all who come to our door. 

We open our hearts to Christ in the stranger,

To Christ in the faces of colleague and friend.

We open our hearts to the ones who are wounded,

To Christ in the hungry, the homeless, the lonely

We open our hearts to the ones who have hurt us,

To Christ in the faces of sinner and foe.

We open our hearts to those who are outcast,

To Christ in the broken, the prisoner, the poor.

We open our hearts to all who are searching,

To Christ in the world, God’s generous gift.

Pause to remind yourself of ways that you could extend God’s hospitality to others.

Song – Brigid’s Feast  

Generous God, take our ordinary everyday lives as pleasing sacrifices to you.

Hospitable and welcoming God, encourage us to fix our attention on you, 

So that we will be changed and renewed from the inside out. 

God we want to love you more and become your hospitality to our world.

God transform us into the generous, hospitable people you intend us to be, 

Let your welcoming love flow from the center of our being,

Let it reach out in friendship and compassion for the disadvantaged and marginalized.

God we want to love you more and become your hospitality to our world.

Open our eyes to see the beauty hidden in every face, 

Assist us to practice hospitality to those we usually overlook or ignore,

Let us share your abundance with joyful and grateful hearts. 

God we want to love you more and become your hospitality to our world.

Song – Brigid’s feast

 Introduction to Lectio Divina

Open your word, O Lord,

Enable us to listen.

Open our minds, O Lord,

Enable us to hear.

Open your thoughts, O Lord,

Enable us to respond.

Open our hearts, O Lord,

Enable us to enjoy.

Scripture Readings

Isaiah 25: 6-10 The Message

But here on this mountain, God-of-the-Angel-Armies

    will throw a feast for all the people of the world,

A feast of the finest foods, a feast with vintage wines,

    a feast of seven courses, a feast lavish with gourmet desserts.

And here on this mountain, God will banish

    the pall of doom hanging over all peoples,

The shadow of doom darkening all nations.

    Yes, he’ll banish death forever.

And God will wipe the tears from every face.

    He’ll remove every sign of disgrace

From his people, wherever they are.

    Yes! God says so!

Also at that time, people will say,

    “Look at what’s happened! This is our God!

We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!

    This God, the one we waited for!

Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation.

    God’s hand rests on this mountain!” 

Regathering Song: A feast of food & finest wine

Luke 14:16-24 The Message

There was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, ‘Come on in; the food’s on the table.’ Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, ‘I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.’

“Another said, ‘I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.’ “And yet another said, ‘I just got married and need to get home to my wife.’

The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, ‘Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.’

“The servant reported back, Master, I did what you commanded—and there’s still room.

“The master said, ‘Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.’”

Regathering Song: 

Lord Jesus Christ, you welcome us to your banquet table.

May we open our arms to embrace you,

May we see you in the faces of strangers,

May we welcome you in the love of friends.

You welcome the abandoned, the misfit, the excluded to your feast.

Forgive us for the times we have allowed our prejudices to overrule,

And rejected you because you are different, ostracized or despised.

We believe that there is beauty hidden in each person.

Forgive us for the times we have failed to see you,

Because you are hidden in the face of the disabled, poor, and homeless.

We believe we are all precious in your sight.

Forgive us for when we have counted you unworthy of our love,

For when we have been indifferent to your cries.

We believe we are called to share life together as members of one family.

Forgive us for when we have been unconcerned for your suffering,

And failed to see your face in the diverse members of your worldwide community.

All humankind is created in God’s image, redeemed by Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit.

We are all invited to feast at God’s banquet table.

We are welcomed into God’s eternal kingdom, with all the peoples of the earth.

The hospitality of Saint Brigid, a giving in and of Christian charity, offered such a powerful example that it set the standard for the hospitality of the Irish people, as is reflected in the Irish Rune of Hospitality:

I saw a stranger yesterday; 

I put food in the eating place, 

drink in the drinking place, 

music in the listening place, 

and in the name of the Triune God

he blessed myself and my house, 

my cattle and my dear ones, and the lark said in her song 

often, often, often, 

goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise, 

often, often, often, 

goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.

May we follow Saint Brigid’s example and receive Christ in the stranger’s guise.

Pause to pray for people to whom you would like to offer God’s hospitality.

Song – Brigid’s feast

May the blessing of the five loaves and the two fishes, 

Which God shared out among the five thousand, be ours. 

May the King who did the sharing ,

bless our sharing and our co-sharing.

The blessings of God be upon this place, 

With plenty of food and plenty of drink,

With plenty of beds and plenty of ale, with much riches and much cheer

With many kin and length of life ever upon it. 

Amen

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Hospitality, Opening Doorways to the Kingdom – The Complete Series. – Godspace August 8, 2017 - 3:02 am

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