Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Writings—Annotated & Explained

Take inspiration from the primary texts of the lively Celtic Christian tradition, with selections from the works of Pelagius, Eriugena and St. Patrick, as well as prayers and poems from Wales, the Outer Hebrides and Ireland.

Annotation by Mary C. Earle
Foreword by John Philip Newell

5½ x 8½, 176 pp | 978-1-59473-302-4

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The forgotten truths of Celtic Christianity provide a portal into a spiritual way of experiencing the world.

The Celtic Christians beheld the world around them and perceived the divine life of God as upholding every aspect of the material universe. Their prayers and poems, their liturgies and theological interpretations give Christians a sense of faith that is confident in a merciful and infinitely creative, healing God.

In this introduction to Celtic Christian spirituality, Mary Earle presents primary texts from the Celtic Christian tradition—selections from the works of Pelagius, Eriugena and St. Patrick, as well as prayers and poems from Wales, the Outer Hebrides and Ireland. These essential writings direct humanity to read the “book of creation” as well as the Bible, and call us to remember that “matter matters.” Earle’s engaging facing-page commentary explores how faithful Christians and spiritual seekers can take inspiration from this lively tradition's ways of embodying and living the gospel. Topics include:

  • Creation
  • Daily life and work
  • Incarnation
  • Pilgrimage
  • Blessing
  • Social justice
  • Prayer

“With uncanny grace and deftness ... [weaves] the soul-wrenching beauty of Celtic spirituality and the joy of contextual understanding into a seamless and deeply satisfying whole. The result, like the biblical Psalter itself, is a loving companion for all the times and seasons of our lives.”

Phyllis Tickle, compiler, The Divine Hours

“A poetic feast [led by] a wise soul friend, expertly guiding us through the meaning of the words so we might claim their meaning for our lives today.... Illuminating and luminous, insightful and grace-filled. I highly recommend this book!”

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author, Lectio Divina—The Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into Heart-Centered Prayer and The Artist’s Rule

“With a poet’s eye, a pastor’s heart and a scholar’s erudition, makes [verse, prayer and praise] accessible and pertinent within both a contemporary and historical context.... Wonderful.”

Alice Peck, editor, Bread, Body, Spirit: Finding the Sacred in Food and Next to Godliness: Finding the Sacred in Housekeeping

“Recommended ... for anyone who wants to better understand the spirituality of the Celts and their haste in embracing Christianity.”

Library Bookwatch

“Thoughtfully selects and soulfully discusses Celtic works with wisdom.... I found myself reminded over and over again of the grace and beauty of creation through these lovely prayers and poems.”

Greg Garrett, author, The Other Jesus; professor of English, Baylor University

“A gift to all spiritual seekers.... [Makes] the wisdom of the Celtic spiritual tradition easily accessible. Read this collection slowly, allowing the rhythms to touch your soul.”

Rev. Jane E. Vennard, author, Praying with Body and Soul

“Those who have come to appreciate the genius of Celtic Christianity will especially welcome this collection.... A delightful work!”

Timothy J. Joyce, OSB, author, Celtic Christianity: A Sacred Tradition, A Vision of Hope

“A deep well of inspiration and information for thirsty twenty-first-century pilgrims....  A trustworthy guide along the way.”

Steven Purcell, director, Laity Lodge

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1

1. Creation 19
2. Prayer 49
3. Incarnation 69
4. Daily Life and Work 81
5. Soul Friends 103
6. Pilgrimage 109
7. Social Justice 117
8. Blessing as a Way of Life 133

Notes 140
Suggestions for Further Reading 141
Credits 143