A Baptist, Celtic, Wanna-be-Nun
My own ethnic heritage is Welsh/English. My maternal Grandparents were immigrants from Wales, met here in Canada, married, and raised their family here. My paternal Grandparents were from the Birmingham area in England and came to Canada several generations ago.
I never thought much about my heritage until I married my Belfast boy. I became fascinated with the whole Celtic heritage that I’d inherited through my ancestors, and again through marriage and started to explore it a little.
Fascinating stories of old saints and amazing hardships.
The part that really appealed to me is their Christian heritage. St Patrick – who hailed from Britain – was captured as a slave when he was a young boy. He escaped, became a Christian, and returned to Ireland as a Bishop, and is almost single-handedly credited with converting them to the Christian faith. He was beloved by all, and became Ireland’s patron saint.
In exploring Celtic faith and Christianity I discovered something that became really meaningful to me. As the “Spiritual Directions” site states,
Every aspect of Celtic life was approached as an opportunity for union with the divine….their entire day was entwined with prayer. No part of life was too ordinary, mundane or routine for the Holy One to be present in it. The Celts had blessings for everything from house to hearth, animals and land, birth and death, waking and sleeping and travel.
I think this is wonderful! My contemplative heart loves the idea of having every day bathed in prayer. Yes, you can make it a chore and a mundane, thoughtless habit, or you can use it as a way to constantly connect to God.
I grew up in a very traditional Baptist church – choir robes, pipe organ, “Holy, Holy, Holy” and the whole nine yards. It was a great church with loving, caring people, but my young heart desired something much richer and deeper. Because of that, I was always drawn to the Catholic Church with its pomp and circumstance, its icons, robes, incense and ceremony. Being a Baptist, I struggled with their doctrine, but I loved their worship.
This longing has created quite a bit of confusion in my heart. There was a time – not that long ago – when the desire to live as a nun in a convent spending my day in prayer was a tangible, living thing in my soul. Being married to a staunch Northern Irish presbyterian made that somewhat awkward although my husband is such a great man, he gave me freedom to explore.
When this whole journey reached a critical pitch, I was able to see that my longing was not for the Catholic Church, or for a particular form of worship, but it was more for a relationship with God that allowed free expression of emotion, quiet times of togetherness, and deep intimacy. For some reason the Catholic system embodied that for me.
When I looked deeper into the Celtic traditions, I realized I could take that longing and make it part of my everyday by using simple prayers as a tool to remind myself to simply connect and enter in.
When I hit my “religious crisis” that I’ve posted about recently, I put all of that aside, but it’s now calling to me from a healthier place. I want any tool I can get to reach out to God regularly, so I’m slowly bringing those prayers back in to my everyday life. I am slowly attaching prayer to mundane activities like drinking my water, washing my dishes, waking up in the morning and going to bed at night. Mostly I use memorized prayers as a tool to enter in, and then I let the relationship take over.
I’m back to taking baby steps here, but as long as I’m moving forward, I’m in a good and happy place!
What do you think? How do you connect with God in your day? How do you live out a meaningful spirituality? Post in the comments below!
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