God Guide Me (The Carmina Gadelica)
“God guide me with thy wisdom
God chastise me with thy justice
God help me with they mercy
God protect me with thy strength
God Fill me with thy fullness
God shield me with they shade
God fill me with thy grace
For the sake of thine anointed Son
Jesu Christ of the seed of David
Visiting One of the temple
Sacrificial Lamb of the garden
Who died for me”
God Communicates Through and With Everything
In the Celtic understanding of the Universal God, we see a God that moves and acts. We see a God that has imputed themselves into everything. Scripture states that God is both in everything and is the cause of everything and the Celts believed this firmly. The Celtic Christians of the early church depended on God in a way that we in the western church do not fully comprehend or understand. What we see in the prayers and blessings of the Carmina Gadelica is a people who not only saw God in everything, including actions and nature but even in the mundane chores of bedmaking and cooking dinner.
We also see a fundamental bedrock of the journey with Christ was to carry out a constant conversation with Jesus through blessing and prayer. At the heart of Celtic Spirituality is a deep desire to speak to, and find, God in every action, every thought, and every breath. These believers were convinced that since God was in everything, God acts and communicates through everything.
God is a God of Action
In this prayer we are confronted with a person who desires relationship with God. The person praying this would likely use this prayer at the start of the day to seek Gods assistance through Gods action. The praying person is seeking guidance, chastisement, help and protection for their day. The person matches these desires with the attributes that God actively uses to provide these things to the person praying. Through God’s wisdom, justice, mercy, and strength a pathway is provided for the person praying to receive these blessings. Notice how the blessings are not all “positives”. The person praying this prayer is chastised when it is needed.
God is a God of action, but not just for the reward of the person, but also for the spiritual growth of the person. The Celts saw God as actively molding the person in both discipline and blessing. In reality, the Celts saw discipline as a blessing. We have a habit in western culture of only attributing monetary or physical blessing to the action of God. This lopsided view of the actions of God is simply not true.
Not all Negative Action is Punishment
It could also be argued that western Christianity looks at all pain, suffering and discipline as punishment from God. This is also very untrue. The Celts understood that all action from God was a blessing. When we are chastised because we have strayed from the justice of God, it is a blessing that God would use that justice through the conviction of the Holy Spirit to correct our course. In our modern day, this is certainly a time that church should be seeking the chastisement and conviction of God to correct our unjust actions. We have been seeking fulfillment through the actions of the world and it is time we go back to seeking fulfillment through Gods guidance help and protection instead of the worlds.
The “Filling” of the Holy Spirit
Celtic prayer is a desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit. But this filling is different from our modern Western understanding of filling. In the modern era, the filling of the Holy Spirit is an emotional experience. The Celts understood this as a symptom of the filling not the end game of the filling. The Celts looked at filling as God exerting influence over one’s life. This influence would lead to action, driven by the very heart of God. When the early Christians of the British Isles and Ireland sought the filling, they were not looking for an emotional experience, they were looking for an influence that would lead to the accomplishment of “they will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
We should look to change the world through the influence of the Holy Spirit in our life. We are not simply having a feel-good emotion that selfishly looks to keep the Spirit to ourselves. We should see it as an influence from God and into the world through us.
God is not simply a “God of Love”
In the end, we must understand that God is not simply a God of love, but a God of conviction and justice. Not only must we apply those concepts in our lives but embody them to the world. Further, as the Spirit fills us, we are called not to bottle the filling up, but to pour it out into the world to make the world a better place. When we pray prayers like this one, we should seek God in our not only our lives but our actions. In the same way thoughts and prayers should turn into contemplation and action, so should the Holy Spirit moving in our lives become the Holy Spirit moving in the world.
We must learn to not only receive the blessing of God, but to embody the blessing of God to the world around us. By doing this we fulfill the last part of the prayer: “For the sake of Jesus Christ”. Lord Hear Our Prayer!