Seamus Heaney reads “St. Kevin and the Blackbird”

I'm sad to learn of the death of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who has been called Ireland's most important poet since W. B. Yeats. Among the many treasures in  his body of work, I especially love "St. Kevin and the Blackbird" which we can see the poet reading in the following video. This was on the occasion of Heaney's 70th birthday and his publisher's 80th anniversary; with that in mind, his comments at the beginning of the video before reading the poem are well said, and quite important in … [Read more...]

Be Joyful: Saint David of Wales

Happy St. David of Wales' day! Dewi Sant, as he is called in Welsh, lived from about 500 to 589. Born in Wales, David established monasteries (one tradition holds that he founded Glastonbury Abbey) before being consecrated bishop; on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Patriarch there consecrated him archbishop of Wales. Legend holds that once while he was preaching to a large crowd, a dove alighted on his shoulder, signifying the blessing of the Holy Spirit on his preaching, so he now often is … [Read more...]

Remembering John O’Donohue

Today is the third anniversary of the passing of John O'Donohue, the noted Irish author and spiritual teacher, whose works include Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, Eternal Echoes: Exploring Our Yearning to Belong, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, and To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings. He also wrote several books of poetry and created several original spoken audio works.In 1999 I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon with John O'Donohue, to interview him for a book  … [Read more...]

St. Andrew and the Scots

Today is the feast day of Saint Andrew, who according to tradition was crucified on a diagonal or X-shaped cross, as depicted on the national Flag of Scotland. In addition to being the patron saint of fisherman (and fishmongers), golfers, rope-makers, singers, and spinsters (!), Andrew is probably best known, at least in America, as the patron of Scotland.But here's an obvious question: why would Andrew, a Jewish fisherman, brother of Peter, one of the twelve apostles who went on to be … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The idea of memory was very important in Celtic spirituality. There are lovely prayers for different occasions. There are prayers for the hearth, for kindling the fire, and for smooring the  hearth. At night, the ashes were smoored over the burning coals, sealing off the air. The next morning the coals would still be alive and burning. There is also a lovely prayer for the hearth keepers that evokes St. Bridget, who was both a pagan Celtic goddess and a Christian saint. In herself, Bridget … [Read more...]

Book suggestions from Lindisfarne

A fellow named David from the Community of Aidan and Hilda has gotten in touch with me. He shares my conviction that Christian mysticism and Celtic spirituality naturally coinhere. Visiting his community's website stirs in me a longing to visit both Lindisfarne and Iona, neither of which I have yet to see (I always seem to end up in Ireland whenever I go to the British Isles).David recommended three books to me: Exploring Celtic Spirituality by Ray Simpson Restoring the Woven Cord by … [Read more...]

And what do YOU like to read?

Here's something just for fun — that sheds some light on the reading habits of those who visit my humble website.Scattered throughout this blog and website are links to various books — books I've written, books written by people I've interviewed (like John O'Donohue), or books that I've reviewed, recommended, or otherwise mentioned once or twice. These links take you to Amazon where you can purchase the book — and if you do so, I get a small commission in the form of a credit that I can use at … [Read more...]


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