“In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is ‘anam cara.’ ‘Anam’ is the Gaelic word for soul and ‘cara’ is the word for friend. So ‘anam cara’ in the Celtic world was the "soul friend." In the early Celtic church, a person who acted as a teacher, companion, or spiritual guide was called an ‘anam cara’. It originally referred to someone to whom you confessed, revealing the hidden intimacies of your life. With the ‘anam cara’ you could share your innermost self, your mind and your heart. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an ‘anam cara’, your friendship cut across all convention, morality, and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the ‘friend of your soul.’ The Celtic understanding did not set limitations of space or time on the soul. There is no cage for the soul. The soul is a divine light that flows into you and into your Other. This art of belonging awakened and fostered a deep and special companionship… This art of love discloses the special and sacred identity of the other person. Love is the only light that can truly read the secret signature of the other person’s individuality and soul. Love alone is literate in the world of origin; it can decipher identity and destiny. It is precisely in awakening and exploring this rich and opaque inner landscape that the ‘anam cara’ experience illuminates the mystery and kindness of the divine. The ‘anam cara’ is God’s gift. Friendship is the nature of God.” – John O’Donohue, Anam Cara How do you see this “art” of love and belonging in your own life? How have you experienced your own identity being awakened and known, or been part of awakening that of your friend? How does this all reflect the very nature of God?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2022-11-10 14:30:53 UTC