Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, so it’s a good week to contemplate the beauty of Celtic spirituality. There’s a book by poet, philosopher, and scholar John O’Donohue called Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom that beautifully describes some of the gifts the ancient Celts gave to humanity. O’Donohue reflects on some of the themes one can find within this worldview, such as: light is generous, the human heart is never completely born, love as ancient recognition, the body is the angel of the soul, solitude is luminous, beauty likes neglected places, the passionate heart never ages, to be natural is to be holy, silence is the sister of the divine, and death as an invitation to freedom.
In his chapter on solitude, O’Donohue writes, “In the Western tradition, we were taught many things about the nature of negativity and the nature of sin, but we were never told that one of the greatest sins is the unlived life . . . We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny. We are so privileged to still have time. We have but one life, and it is a shame to limit it by fear and false barriers.” He goes on to quote Irenaeus, “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” (pgs. 123-124) That’s one of my favorite quotes of all time and such a wonderful thought. God is glorified when each and every one of us is fully alive.
Now what does that mean for you? What does that look like in your own life?
I can’t answer that for you. But the truth is that Christians have sometimes spent far too much time judging one another for perceived sins and not enough time thinking about sin as the unlived life. Contemplating that perhaps each of us has a special destiny. That no one is quite like you and no one has the gifts to offer the world that you have to offer. In the words of the Psalmist, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, that’s the beauty of God’s loving creativity! Just a bit of wisdom from Celtic spirituality and the Psalmist to get us through another week.
(This Week’s Thoughts 3.18.21)
Photo by Wynand van Poortvlivet on Unsplash.