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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

Emmaus Liturgy Tomorrow: Celtic Spirituality

Emmaus Liturgy for tomorrow - May 23, 2021

Theme: Celtic Spirituality

Pat: Introduction of theme

In John O‘Donohue’s ANAM CARA, there is a richness and deep understanding of the complexities of the Celtic mind and spirituality. This includes no separation between the human and the divine. The Celtic mind was not systematic and they were not burdened by a linear way of thinking so it is a bit of a wild ride to understand it. The Celts did not believe in sin and punishment. They had a strong belief in the afterlife. They did not fear death. There was a deep reverence for the natural world.

The Celtic understanding of friendship finds its inspiration and culmination in the sublime notion of the anam cara. Anam is the Gaelic word for soul; cara is the word for friend so anam cara means soul friend. The anam cara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an anam cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with a friend of your soul. Think of God as your soul friend. O’Donohue tells us that in the Celtic tradition, the invisible and visible are one and that is why prayer is such an easy and natural path to follow. Let’s begin our prayer tonight with our opening song, “All Are Welcome.” Feel free to sing along, muted, if you like.

You can download the script for this celebration either in WORD or PDF formats:

Emmaus Liturgy May 23 Script_V2
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Emmaus Liturgy May 23 Script_V2
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Opening song - All Are Welcome – Marty Haugen

  1. Let us build a house where love can dwell And all can safely live, A place where saints and children tell How hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, Rock of faith and vault of grace; Here the love of Christ shall end divisions.


All are welcome, all are welcome, All are welcome in this place.

  1. Let us build a house where prophets speak, And words are strong and true. Where all God’s children dare to seek To dream God’s reign anew. Here the cross shall stand as witness And as symbol of God’s grace. Here as one, we claim the faith of Jesus.


All are welcome, all are welcome, All are welcome in this place.

(Anam Cara: Two Hearts, One Soul)

Pat: Brighid is a pivotal figure in Celtic spirituality. She was considered a goddess in the early years of Irish history when the pagan religion was practiced. She established a monastery for woman and men, which was not unusual at that time. She was so loved by the people that they would not give her up when Christianity came to Ireland. In fact, many of the Celtic pagan rituals and traditions were imitated by the Christian religion so the population would feel familiar and at home with Christianity.

For our opening prayer I chose the Mantle of Brighid. It can be used for friends in trouble, or doing hard work, or undergoing illness, or to those who have no one to support them, to mantle those in their hour of trial. This prayer is intended to comfort as well as to protect. This version is “The Mantle of St. Brighid” by Caitlin Matthews.

The Mantle of St. Brighid

Brighid of the mantle encompass us,

Lady of the lambs protect us,

Keeper of the hearth, kindle us,

Beneath your mantle, gather us

And restore us to memory.

Mothers of our mother,

Foremothers strong,

Guide our hands in yours.

Remind us how

To kindle the hearth,

To keep it bright,

To preserve the flame,

Your hands upon ours,

Our hands within yours,

To Kindle the light,

Both day and night.

The mantle of Brighid about us,

The memory of Brighid within us,

The protection of Brighid keeping us

From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness,

This day and night

From dawn till dark

From dark to dawn.

Jim: 1st reading Bennacht (recording by John O’Donohue)

On the day when

the weight deadens

on your shoulders

and you stumble,

may the clay dance

to balance you.

And when your eyes

freeze behind

the gray window

and the ghost of loss

gets in to you,

may a flock of colors,

indigo, red, green

and azure blue

come to awaken in you

a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays

in the curach of thought

and a stain of ocean

blackens beneath you,

may there come across the waters

a path of yellow moonlight

to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

may the clarity of light be yours,

may the fluency of the ocean be yours,

may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow

wind work these words

of love around you,

an invisible cloak

to mind your life.

Response - Today - Dana recording (Please sing along if you wish.)

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine

A million tomorrows shall all pass away Ere I forget all the joy that is mine today

I'll be a dandy and I'll be a rover You'll know who I am by the song that I sing I'll feast at your table, I'll sleep in your clover

Who cares what the morrow shall bring?

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine

I can't be contented with yesterday's glory I can't live on promises winter to spring (winter to spring)

Today is my moment and now is my story

I'll laugh and I'll cry and I'll sing

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine A million tomorrows shall all pass away Ere I forget all the joy that is mini today

2nd reading John O’Donohue, “Anam Cara”

The shape of each soul is different. There is a secret destiny for each person. When you endeavor to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mold, you betray your individuality. We need to return to the solitude within, to find again the dream that lies at the hearth of the soul. We need to feel the dream with the wonder of a child approaching a threshold of discovery.

When we discover our childlike nature, we enter into a world of gentle possibility. Consequently, we will find ourselves more frequently at that place, at the place of ease, delight, and celebration. The false burdens fall away. We come into rhythm with ourselves. Our clay shape gradually learns to walk beautifully on this magnificent earth.

A Blessing of Solitude

May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and a light of your soul.

May you realize that you are never alone,

that your soul in its brightness and belonging

connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.

May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.

May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,

that you have a special destiny here,

that behind the facade of your life there is something beautiful, good, and eternal happening.

May you learn to see yourself with the same delight, pride, and expectation

with which God sees you in every moment.

Pat: Shared homily – starter questions:

When do you pray ? How do you pray? Do you have a favorite prayer that you would like to share? Does your prayer wrap itself around you or do you wrap yourself around it? How do you feel after you pray. Do you find yourself praying when you wash the dishes or sweep the floor. Does the task become the prayer.

Jim: What do we bring to the table tonight?

Pat: Offertory song - Companions on the Journey - Carey Landry

Refrain: We are companions on the journey, Breaking bread and sharing life; And in the love we bear is the hope we share for we believe in the love of our God, We believe in the love of our God.

  1. No longer strangers to each other, No longer strangers in God’s House; We are fed and we are nourished by the strength of those who care, By the strength of those who care.

  1. We have been gifted each other, And we are called by the word of the Lord: To act with justice, to love tenderly And to walk humbly with our God, To walk humbly with our God.



Preface: Pat: Wise and faithful God, you have birthed us in goodness, gifted us with life and cherished us in love. In the heart of our being, your Spirit dwells; a Spirit of courage and vision, a Spirit of wisdom and truth.

Jim: In the power of that same Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer, invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment, that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with all who sing the ancient hymn of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Pat: Creator God, we see around us the work of your hands, the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power. We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom, thus hindering your creative presence in our midst.

Jim: Sending among us Jesus, our Savior, you birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom, and in the gift of the Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew, amid the variety and wonder of life.

Pat: That same Spirit we invoke upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain & wine of the grape, that they may become the body and blood of Jesus – to nurture afresh in us the discerning gifts of wisdom, light and truth.

Jim: Gathering the disciples around the table of shared wisdom, Jesus took bread; blessed you God of all good gifts, broke the bread and handed it to those seeking nourishment, with these words: Take this all of you and eat: This is my body which will be given up for you.

Pat: After the meal, Jesus took the cup, poured out in a spirit of solidarity and empowerment. Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with his friends, saying:

Take this all of you and drink from it; this is the cup of my life-blood, the life of the new and everlasting covenant. In prophetic solidarity, it is poured out for you and for all. Sustain one another in the power of sacred memory.

Jim: In faith and hope we are sustained, in grace and dignity reclaimed, in praise, we thank our God.

Pat: As we celebrate this sacred meal, we recall the wise and gracious gifts bestowed on us down through the ages; and we look forward in hope, knowing that you, our wise and faithful God, will continue to endow us with abundant blessings.

Jim: In the power of this Eucharistic meal, bless us afresh with the gift of the Spirit, that our hearts may be open and receptive as you invite us into the fullness of life.

Pat: In union with all peoples living and dead, we unite our thoughts and prayers, asking wisdom and courage: - to discern more wisely your call to us in the circumstances of our daily lives; - to act justly and courageously in confronting the pain and suffering that desecrates the earth and its peoples; - to take risks in being creative and proactive on behalf of the poor and marginalized; - and to love all people with generosity of heart, beyond the labels of race, creed and color.

Jim: And may we ever be aware and alert to the new things the Spirit makes possible, as our world unfolds amid pain and beauty, into the fullness of life to which all are called, participating in the wise and wonderful work of co-creation.

Pat: In the wisdom of our triune God, Creator, Liberator, and Holy Spirit, we are blessed with the gifts of this Eucharistic table, and with all the good things bestowed upon our world, now and forever. Amen.

Amen from Lilies of the Field

Amen, Amen, Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen.

Sing it over!

Amen, Amen, Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen.

Pat: Our Father, Our Mother – Parker J. Palmer

Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother,

Holy and blessed is your true name.

We pray for your reign of peace to come,

We pray that your good will be done,

Let heaven and earth become one.

Give us this day the bread we need,

Give it to those who have none.

Let forgiveness flow like a river between us,

From each one to each one.

Lead us to holy innocence

Beyond the evil of our days.

Come swiftly Mother, Father, come.

For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy:

Forever your name is All in One

Jim: Kiss of peace

Pat: Communion invitation

Communion song – ONE BREAD ONE BODY by John Michael Talbot

One bread, one body, one Lord of all One cup of blessing which we bless And we, though many, throughout the Earth We are one body in this one Lord

Gentile or Jew Servant or free Woman or man no more

One bread, one body, one Lord of all One cup of blessing which we bless And we, though many, throughout the Earth We are one body in this one Lord

Many the gifts, many the works One in the Lord Of all

One bread, one body, one Lord of all One cup of blessing which we bless And we, though many, throughout the Earth We are one body in this one Lord We are one body in this one Lord

Pat: Closing blessing

Earth mother, star mother, you who are called by 1000 names,

may all remember we are cells in your body and dance together.

You are the grain and the loaf that sustains us each day,

and as you are patient with our struggles to learn

so shall we be patient with ourselves and each other.

We are radiant light and sacred dark the balance.

You are the embrace that heartens and the freedom beyond fear.

Within you we are born, we grow, live and die.

You bring us around the circle to rebirth, within us you dance forever.

Starhawk from Earth Prayers

Jim: Since today is Pentecost we want to add this poem

by Jan Richardson:

The Grace That Scorches Us

Here is one thing that you must understand about this blessing. It is not for you alone.

It is stubborn about this. Do not even try to lay hold of it if you are by yourself, thinking you can carry it on your own.

To bear this blessing you must first take yourself to a place where everyone does not look like you or think like you. A place where they do not believe precisely as you believe, where their thoughts and ideas and gestures are not echoes of your own.

Bring your sorrow, bring your grief, bring your fear, bring your weariness, your pain, your disgust at how broken the world is, how fractured, how fragmented by its fighting, its wars, its hungers, its penchant for power, its ceaseless repetition of the history it refuses to rise above.

I will not tell you this blessing will fix all that.

But in the place where you have gathered, wait, watch, listen. Lay aside your inability to be surprised, your resistance to what you do not understand. See then if this blessing turns to flame on your tongues, sets you to speaking what you cannot fathom.

Or opens your ear to a language beyond your imagining, that comes as a knowing in your bones, a clarity in your heart that tells you this is the reason we were made: for this ache that finally opens us, for this struggle, this grace that scorches us toward one another and into the blazing day.

Jim: Announcements

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