St. Patrick is known for many things. He is known for driving all the snakes out of Ireland. He is known for teaching people about the Trinity using a Shamrock. And if you are really up on your St. Patrick lore you might know that he was originally sold into slavery in Ireland, escaped and came back to share the gospel with his former captors. That particular story is moving and full of meaning. A former slave preaching the good news of Jesus to his former captors? Priceless.
As Christianity spreads throughout Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the surrounding islands the faith begins to take a different flavor than it does in other parts of Europe. Celtic Christianity is born. In the Celtic Tradition the church is ruled by monastic leaders, not bishops. Monasteries are started and become prominent in everyday life. The people brush up against the monks all the time.
And the people begin to pray all the time like the monks did. Celtic Christians are known for their prayers-prayers for everything-healing, their homes, birth, death, and journeys. A man named Alexander Carmichael begin traveled all over Ireland, Scotland, and Wales and recorded their prayers. He gathered them and published them in a book: The Carmina Gadelica.
Here’s one of their prayers for a journey. May it be a prayer for our journeys whether it is our Lenten spiritual journey or some other journey.
Prayer: The Pilgrims’ Abiding
God be with thee in every pass, Jesus be with thee on every hill. Spirit be with thee on every stream, headland and ridge and lawn.
Each sea and land, each moor and meadow, each lying down, each rising up, in the trough of the waves, on the crest of the billows, each step of the journey thou goest. Amen.