Earlier this Fall, we had the opportunity to spend a rainy morning at Mount Angel Abbey. The children were excited to get to see real, live Benedictines! Joseph wanted to kneel down and kiss every statue that we found tucked into the greenery. But for me, the highlight was wandering in the aisles of the bookshop. We came home with one book, and a list of 15 others, among them, The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal.
The book gathers together ancient Celtic prayers along with brief commentaries by de Waal. One of the most striking things about the prayers is how absolutely saturated in prayer the lives + work of the people were. There are prayers for beginning a journey, prayers for churning the butter, even prayers for making the bed:
I make this bed
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
In the name of the night we were conceived, the night we were born, and the day we were baptized.
Imagine calling to mind the night your child was born each time you smooth the covers on her bed. Imagine blessing the night your partner was conceived + all the work + love that brought him up. Imagine doing your daily tasks in the name of God…inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.
Making the bed again provided them with the opportunity to reflect on God’s many blessings….and there are numerous prayers such as this which mark the start of each new day. They all make it clear that this is a ritual of recovery and rebuilding. –de Waal
In this small way we can participate in God’s ongoing creation of the world.