Read excerpts right here and begin the journey through Celtic blessings with author Beth Richardson.
I organized this book by chapters that contain different types of blessings. “Through the Day” includes prayers that celebrate God’s presence in each moment of the day, from waking to sleeping. In “Holy Moments” I’ve encompassed a variety of prayers that acknowledge the richness of life’s gifts—the love of pets, the ritual of morning coffee (or your favorite morning beverage), the holy gift of discovering a bird’s nest. This chapter includes one of my favorite forms of blessing, “Bless to me” prayers.
The chapter “Seasons,” contains prayers that mark our journeys through each year from New Year’s Day through Christmas. “Passages” contains prayers for special moments in our lives such as births, marriages, and graduations. “Heart Prayers” are blessings of the world and its people.
In the chapter “The Struggling Times,” I’ve written blessings for the many stages of hurt, illness, grief, and death that we face as we walk through life. I hope these will offer comfort to you and to those with whom you share this resource.
The book closes with an acknowledgment that “God Is In” our spirits, our relationships, our communities, our world. God is in each of us, and we are grateful.
Bless to Me Prayers
The “Bless to me” prayer is an ancient Celtic form. The prayer focuses on a tool, item, or activity in an expression of gratitude, celebrating the gift of this object or activity and the way it contributes to the pray-er’s life. It is a prayer of the present moment, a specific acknowledgment of the presence of the holy, right now in this place.
Bless to me this kitchen, this truck, this walking the dog, this pillow, this washing of the dishes. Bless to me this bird song, this quiet before sunrise, these falling leaves. When I am fully present in this moment then I have taken the first step in crafting a “Bless to me” prayer. I hope you will find yourself writing these prayers in your journal or upon your heart.
My “Celtic Clay”
Nestled at the beginning of each chapter I have included a story or reflection about the life of my grandfather, Tom Wilson. Grandpa shaped my life in significant ways and in his life my Celtic roots are grounded.
Grandpa lived an amazing life full of adventures. He was a storyteller, so I grew up knowing the stories of his life, the stories of where I came from.
Grandpa was my mother’s dad. He exerted the most positive influence on my childhood. He helped me know deep down to my core that I was loved unconditionally by him and by God. He resonated with true goodness in the world.
Grandpa was born in South Africa, the son of an English father and an Irish mother who had immigrated to South Africa from their respective countries, settled in Kimberley, met, married, and had a family. John Wilson, a native of England, met and married Margaret Griffin, from Ireland. They had three children: Tom and Jack were twins. Their younger sister was Eileen. When Grandpa was ten years old, his family traveled to England so that Grandpa’s twin brother, Jack, could have surgery on his arm. (Jack had broken his arm, and the doctors in South Africa were unable to fix it properly. John and Margaret intended for him to have surgery in England to save the use of his arm.) Little sister, Eileen, was eight years old. They took passage from Cape Town on the passenger ship Balmoral Castle. But World War I was breaking out. By the time they reached England, the country was at war, the surgeon they were to see had been drafted, and civilian travel back to South Africa was impossible.
Unable to return home, the family visited County Clare, Ireland, and spent several months with Grandpa’s mother’s family on the farm where she grew up. Grandpa’s grandmother, Mary Touhy Griffin, lived on a farm with her son, Jim, and his wife, Mariah. The Wilsons stayed there long enough for the children to enroll in school and get to know their Irish roots a little bit. In stories that we heard from Grandpa, he noted that the schoolmaster in County Clare treated him and his siblings unkindly. He had no fondness for the British, and these three children had a British father.
Great-grandpa Wilson was trying to determine how to get the family back to their home in South Africa. He figured that the only way to get home entailed traveling through a country that was not involved in the war. Since the United States had not entered the war, the family bought passage to New York. They planned to visit relatives in Oklahoma and then return to South Africa by taking a ship from Galveston, Texas. In May of 1915, the family was waiting in Liverpool, England, with tickets to travel to the United States on the Lusitania. The Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland as it headed for port in Liverpool.
The family remained in England, awaiting the next ship that could take them to the United States. They embarked from Liverpool on the American liner Philadelphia with a number of the Lusitania survivors. Grandpa recalled that the fearful survivors would stay up on deck for most of the passage from England to New York.
By the time the family made it to the United States and then on to Oklahoma, the country stood on the verge of entering the war; the American lives lost in the sinking of the Lusitania had contributed to the call for war.
The Wilson family had traveled to southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton to visit Grandpa’s aunt Mary Griffin Scott. The United States’ declaration of war halted civilian travel, and the Wilsons found themselves stranded again. By the end of World War I, the family had no money to travel back home. Greatgrandpa Wilson, having never farmed a day of his life, nevertheless bought a farm in southwestern Oklahoma and began to eke out a life for them in this new place.
This unusual pilgrimage from South Africa to Oklahoma changed the course of their lives, luckily for me. I was born with this rich legacy of courage and adaptability, and a deep gratitude for life, whatever it presents.
I trust that you will use this book as a source of blessings for your life and for the lives of those you love. You also may carry in you the clay of the Celts or live your life as if everything is a blessing from the Creator. If this concept is new for you, I hope that this book will inspire you to open your eyes, your ears, your heart to the wonders of creation, of relationships, of adventures that surround you daily.
As I write this book, I imagine your hands thumbing through these pages, reading slowly, letting the words sink deeply into your heart.
I imagine you finding just the right blessing for a need you are having or marking pages to share with a friend. I envision you writing the much-needed blessing for a friend who is having a hard time or who has lost a loved one.
I picture you stopping in the middle of a walk to watch the slow progression of an ant carrying a leaf across your path. Or running outside to watch the beauty of a sunset. I imagine you, your eyes wide open, taking a photo of a spring flower, or, in the early morning, writing in your heart a blessing for a new day.
Let yourself enter this world of blessings and gratitude, of praise and pilgrimage. May you find yourself blessed by these pages whether you are new to this path or already live in a world surrounded by the ordinary experiences that mark the way through an ordinary life.
May you be blessed this day. And may you walk gently into the day, ready to see blessings all around you.
Through the Day
Celebrating God’s Presence in Each Moment
|God with me lying down,|
|God with me rising up,|
|God with me in each ray of light,|
|Nor I a ray of joy without God,|
|Nor one ray without God.|
|Christ with me sleeping,|
|Christ with me waking,|
|Christ with me watching.|
|Every day and night,|
|Each day and night.|
|God with me protecting,|
|The Lord with me directing.|
|The Spirit with me strengthening.|
|For ever and for evermore.|
|Ever and evermore. Amen.(1)|
–Carmina Gadelica, I, 5
Grandpa was born in Kenilworth, South Africa, in 1905, the second of fraternal twin brothers. When he told the story of his birth, he said that his brother, Jack, was born first. The midwife didn’t expect a second baby, so when Grandpa showed up it was a surprise. Grandpa wasn’t expected to live, so he was set aside in a pile of bloody rags. But he didn’t die.
I think this birth experience shaped my Grandpa. Unexpected, set aside to die, living despite the odds. Each new day, throughout his ninety-eight years, dawned as a special gift. He lived in grace, and he extended love and grace to those around him.
I was the first grandchild. Grandpa taught me to hold up one finger in the air—“You’re number one,” he said. But all the grandchildren were “number one” to him. When I displeased Grandma and she was scolding me, Grandpa would say to her, “Let her be. She’s doing pretty good.”
Grandpa, perhaps more than anyone, taught me about a God of unconditional love, a God who loves me no matter what. Through Grandpa I learned that I was loved and cherished just by being me.
When Grandpa died, someone remarked that he didn’t exhibit much of a relationship with God. But I think the person was mistaken. Grandpa may not have talked about God a lot, but he walked with God each day, in every moment, through every interaction, through every touch, and in every smile. He lived fully the gift of life that he received at his birth.
Bless Our Waking
Bless this day and all who wake.
Bless all who wake.
Bless this day and all who weep.
Bless all who weep.
Bless this day and all who fear.
Bless all who fear.
Bless this day and all who laugh.
Bless all who laugh.
Bless this day and all who hunger.
Bless all who hunger.
Bless this day and all who hope.
Bless all who hope.
Bless this day.
A Blessing of the Morning
Bless this day,
The quiet sounds of morning,
The waking of creation.
Bless this silence, Nurture of solitude,
Feeding thirsty spirits,
Filling hearts for another day.
We breathe deeply the quiet,
The early morning sounds,
The softness of the sun.
We breathe deeply the beauty,
The songs of birds,
The dew upon the grass.
We breathe deeply the peace,
Cool wind upon skin,
Gentleness in every step.
Gently into the day,
May we be blessings to all we meet.
A Breakfast Blessing
Bless this food.
Bless this day.
Bless my steps.
Bless my words.
For clean water, for juice or milk, coffee or tea.
For food, for bread or tortillas, noodles or rice.
For those who wake with plenty, never knowing a hungry moment.
For those who enter their day hungry for food, craving comfort.
For all those who helped to make this food.
For farmers and harvesters.
For sellers and truckers.
For cooks and servers.
May all be loved this day.
May all be fed this day.
May all be blessed with your generous love.
At the Midday
Bless this midday,
A break in my busyness,
A time to rest, renew, refresh
From the challenges of the morning.
Bless this food,
Bless this pause,
Bless this rest.
Remind me that this day,
This whole life,
Is a gift from you.
May I breathe in Spirit,
Breathe in strength,
Breathe in wisdom.
Fill this food,
Fill this pause,
Fill this rest.
I am yours.
The Evening Meal
For the seed and the soil,
The rain and the sun,
For the hands who touched, nurtured, harvested,
I give you thanks.
For the families that gather,
The ones who hunger,
The lonely people who eat by themselves,
I ask your blessing.
For this food and drink,
This plate and bowl,
These walls that protect me,
I bow in humble gratitude.
All that I have,
All that I am,
All that I will be,
Are gifts of yours,
Creator of the Universe,
Creator of me.
A Blessing at Sunset
Bless, O God, this tender evening,
The trees, branches raised in praise.
The sky, soft glow darkening into dusk.
The homecoming of young and old.
Bless, O God, this sacred moment.
The quiet pause between day and night.
The birds, flying to safety in bush or brush.
The colors of the sunset—
Orange to red to purple to black—
Creeping across the sky.
Bless, O God, this night to come.
The safety of shelter, the supper to nourish.
Hearts of joy or souls bent in sorrow.
Renewing rest and hope for one more day.
Bless, O God. Bless.
Bless this night.
The light gives way to the darkness
And another day is done.
Bless those I have met this day
And those whose faces come to my mind.
Bless the smiles, words, and thoughts
That touched your creatures, large and small.
Forgive, O God, the sins of your servant this day:
The unkind word or thought.
The deed of which I am ashamed.
Forgive me that I may find rest in you.
Bless this house, this pillow, this bed.
May I lie down in your peace and love
And awake again to be your hands and heart in the world.
I am yours, God of Love.
Bless this night.
This type of prayer is open to everyone as Christians throughout the world embrace God's great love, beauty, and promise.purchase