I love the lyrical poetry and prose of the Celts that flows into prayer language with such beauty! It has the same feeling as spring to me – life, welcome, hope, beauty. Cahoon, my surname, is from the original Colquhoun Scottish Highland Clan. Hoorah! And I celebrate this connection on my father’s side, though the original ancestor who landed in the “New Land” did so centuries ago!
For long I have been comforted and nourished, disturbed and invited, by whatever I can put my hands on in Celtic spirituality. And so at the end of this feast of St. Patrick I offer a couple of prayers to dwell with, taken directly from the compilation on Celtic Spirituality from Paulist Press’ Classics of Western Spirituality series. I’ve also added a large segment of the Hymn of St. Patrick, Kuno Meyer’s translation. For those of you who love this hymn, I strongly recommend David Adam’s The Cry of the Deer for your well supported reflection. I cannot overstate the beauty of the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer selections either, for a rhythm of prayer rich in beauty, substantive in content, and drenched in grace.
May you be circled and shielded by our Loving God, the Holy Christ, the Hovering Spirit, and Blessed Mary this night.
A PILGRIM’S PRAYER
The path I walk, Christ walks it. May the land in which I am be without sorrow.
May the Trinity protect me wherever I stay, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Bright angels walk with me – dear presence – in every dealing.
May I arrive at every place, may I return home; may the way in which I spend be a way without loss.
May every path before me be smooth, man, woman, and child welcome me.
A truly good journey! Well does the fair Lord show us a course, a path.
A PRAYER BEFORE NIGHT’S REST
May Your Holy Angels, O Christ, Son of the living God, tend our sleep, our rest, our bright bed.
Let them reveal true visions to us in our sleep, O High Prince of the universe, O great and mysterious King.
May no demons, no evil, no injury or terrifying dreams disturb our rest, our prompt and swift repose.
May our waking, our work, and our living be holy; our sleep, our rest, without hindrance or harm.
THE DEER’S CRY (Hymn of St. Patrick)
Through belief in threeness, through confession of oneness, of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism, through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.
I arise today through the strength of heaven;
Light of sun, radiance of moon, splendor of fire, speed of lightning, swiftness of wind, depth of sea, stability of earth, firmness of rock.
I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak to me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me,
From snares of devils, from temptations of vices, from everyone who shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a multitude.
Christ to shield me today against poisoning, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, So there come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye of every one that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.
Though belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.