As you will remember, this year’s Called to be project is known as “Called to be Holy” and in addition to the novena between Ascension and Pentecost includes monthly Anglican Spiritual writings posted on the Called to be website:
OCTOBER 2015 – A WELSH BENEDICTION
This poem of blessing comes from 11th century Wales. In our introduction to the Called To Be Holy Novena, we promised ‘to explore the spirituality (the genuine Celtic stuff) from the northern and western parts of the British Isles’, and here is a beautiful example: in the scriptural tradition of the Psalms and Wisdom literature all creation praises its Creator. As well as the world of nature – stars, plants, birds and the elements – the fruits of human skill give praise: the church and chancel, books and the written word. Human beings themselves, male and female, praise God through thought and action and trace their sacred lineage from Abraham and Moses.
In Anglicanorum Cœtibus, Pope Benedict reminded us that the aim of his invitation into the fulness of the Catholic Church was so that the Gospel might be preached ‘to all creatures’. For an affirmation of our connectedness to all creation we need look no further than the Christian history of these islands and the spirituality of our Catholic forebears in the Celtic tradition.
Two Anglican writers may be cited here: first, John Macquarrie, writing in A Dictionary of Christian Spirituality: ‘We often hear the plea for a spirituality that will impinge on everyday life, and Celtic spirituality certainly did that… it may be that the theological basis of that old spirituality, namely, an understanding of God as deeply involved in creation, can generate a new spirituality appropriate to new social conditions.’ And here is Esther de Waal, in The Celtic Way of Prayer: ‘I am taken back beyond the party labels and the denominational divisions of the Church today, beyond the divides of the Reformation or the schism of East and West. I am also taken beyond the split of intellect and feeling, of mind and heart, that came with the growth of the rational and analytical approach which the development of the universities brought to the European mind in the twelfth century. Here is something very profound. This deep point within the Christian tradition touches also some deep point in my own consciousness, my own deepest inner self.’
Glorious Lord, I give you greeting!
Let the church and the chancel praise you,
Let the chancel and the church praise you,
Let the plain and the hillside praise you,
Let the world’s three well-springs praise you,
Two above wind and one above land,
Let the dark and the daylight praise you.
Abraham, founder of the faith, praised you:
Let the life everlasting praise you,
Let the birds and honeybees praise you,
Let the shorn stems and the shoots praise you.
Both Aaron and Moses praised you:
Let the male and the female praise you,
Let the seven days and the stars praise you,
Let the air and the ether praise you,
Let the books and letters praise you,
Let the fish in the swift streams praise you,
Let the thought and the action praise you,
Let the sand-grains and the earth-clods praise you,
Let all the good that’s performed praise you.
And I shall praise you, Lord of glory:
Glorious Lord, I give you greeting!
you have filled the earth with the wonder of all you have made,
and created us to give you praise.
Grant that, like our forebears in the faith,
we may greet you each day in the beauty of your creatures;
that your name may be glorified throughout the earth,
and all creation resound with the Gospel of your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O praise the Lord from the heavens: * praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all ye angels of his: * praise him, all his host.
Praise him, sun and moon: * praise him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, all ye heavens, * and ye waters that are above the heavens.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord: * for he spake the word, and they were made; he commanded, and they were created.
He hath made them fast for ever and ever: * he hath given them a law which shall not be broken.
Praise the Lord from the earth, * ye dragons and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and vapours, * wind and storm, fulfilling his word;
Mountains and all hills; * fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle; * creeping things and flying fowls;
Kings of the earth, and all peoples; * princes, and all judges of the world;
Young men and maidens, old men and children, praise the Name of the Lord: * for his Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth.
He shall exalt the horn of his people: all his saints shall praise him; * even the children of Israel, even the people that serveth him.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.
Source of reading: Clancy, Joseph P., 1970. The Earliest Welsh Poetry. London: Macmillan, p. 113
Image:10th century Celtic cross, Llantwit Major, Wales