Yesterday's Advent candle was the candle of love. The Celtic Christians understood the spiritual realms to be as real and as active as the physical realm. They believed that there was an interweaving of these realms and that the angels were among us as we wander the earth, just in a different realm. Many of the Celtic saints would regularly converse with angels and would see them. On one occasion, when Columba was sitting in the scriptorium on lona, he shouted a command which the monks with him did not understand. When they asked him what he meant, he replied that he was talking to the angel which he saw standing between them and was telling the angel to go and aid another monk in a different place. The concept of angelic protection was also something the Celtic Christians believed in: that the angels guard and protect us as we live our daily lives, as this was their heavenly charge. The 19th/20th-century collection of Celtic prayers called the Carmina Gadelica, which reflect strongly what we know of the ancient Celtic church, includes certain prayers directed at angelic protection, more specifically to the archangel Michael. In scripture, Michael was the angel who fought battles in the heavenly realms (see, for example, Jude 9; Revelation 12:7-9), the militant angel within the battle in which we are 'not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places' (Ephesians 6:12, NLT). The Celtic Christians had prayers to call Michael to their aid, such as this one: O Michael Militant, thou king of the angels, shield thy people with the power of thy sword, shield thy people with the power of thy shield. Spread thy wing over sea and land, east and west, and shield us from the foe, east and west from the foe. For the Celtic Christians, the angels, especially Michael, were there to help and protect us. * * * Some people experience this type of protection as love. Others experience it as a kind of oppression or power over. How do you experience protection (from this world--friends, family, etc.--or from the spiritual realm--God, angels, prayers, etc.)? Does it depend on who is doing the protecting or what is being protected? How do you feel about the idea of angels? What might the invitation be in exploring this theme? P.S. I love that in this depiction of Michael, the angel is either wearing a sweater or chain mail, and it isn't entirely clear. :) Art by Modern Saints by Gracie. #celticadvent #2022

Posted by Tara Owens, Abbess at 2022-12-19 16:42:27 UTC