Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What is Celtic Christian Spirituality?

For the certificate program I am enrolled in, we are asked to keep a 'Learning Journal'.  Here are a few of my reflections on Unit I: 'What is Celtic Christian Spirituality?'

The Foundation for Holistic Spirituality defines spirituality as ‘everyone’s naturally connection with the wonder and energy of nature and all existence. The question was then posed to me, 'How would I define spirituality.'

Though incomplete, here is a quick answer to that question:

Spirituality is the recognition that we are more than our flesh, yet we are also nothing without our flesh.  We connect with God, the Ground of All Being.  Spirituality is the journey of maintaining conscious contact with the Divine.

Ray Simpson, the author of Exploring Celtic Spirituality (the primary text for my course) wrote, “I sensed that my new experience was not an isolated incident: it was part of a tapestry that God was weaving across the ages.”

A realization of mine: It seems a vibrant spirituality is key to discerning the new things God is doing in our midst.  To use a phrase from Alcoholics Anonymous, conscious contact with the Divine enables us to discern, to see the patterns and the signs, to be tapped into the creativity of the Divine Energies.

As part of my learning, I was asked to reflect on five key words and two phrases that best reflect my understanding of ‘Celtic Christian Spirituality.’

1. Trinity: Central to Celtic Christian Spirituality is the Holy Trinity.  However, this is not a static adherence to doctrine.  There is a real sense that all of life occurs within the loving embrace of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The mutual love of the Trinity shines forth in the lives and hearts of those believers, and it expands not just to human life, but to all of the created order.

2. Mystical: There is the sense that the beating heart of God is not so far away…that through prayer, sacramental participation, and right living, we truly can be more attuned to the energies of divine grace.

3. Sacramental: The Eucharist is central to this spirituality.  But more than just the Eucharist, there is a deep sense of the capability of material things to convey divine graces.

4. Creative: With some of the original missions, we see innovative approaches to evangelism, church order, and spirituality.

5. Flexible: There is the sense that Celtic Spirituality is inherently contextual, that it adapts to the circumstances, to the land, to the people.  It is not entirely prescriptive.

6. Creation-Affirming: There is a deep love for the created world.  Through nature, we can indeed connect to the energy of God our Creator.

7. Supernaturally Inclined: Angels, saints, even the Enemy…there is the belief in the presence of a world we cannot see with our eyes, but is nevertheless as real as the forest or the rivers.

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