I am delighted to introduce a new podcast series, Celtic Conversations, inspired by my new book – The Soul's Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred – and my time living in Ireland. I am hosting a series of conversations with authors, artists, and guides about Celtic spirituality. So find a cozy space and pour yourself a cup of tea.
My guest today is Ed Sellner and we had a delightful conversation about the rebirth of interest in Celtic spirituality, his upcoming book on saints and animals, does resurrection apply to animals, the story of St. Cuthbert and the otters, crows bearing witness, the importance of pilgrimage, the Celtic roots of European churches, Glendalough, and his work on a book about Merton and Jack Kerouac.
Edward Sellner is professor emeritus in theology and spirituality at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN and a Fellow at the Oxford Centre of Animal Ethics, in Oxford, England. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he is the author of 13 books on Celtic spirituality, mentoring, the history of Western monasticism, men's issues, Buddhism and other Asian religions. His latest book, Celtic Saints and Animals: A New Spirituality of Holiness, will be published by Paulist Press next year (2019).
On a personal note I first encountered Ed’s books several years ago, the first of his I read is Finding the Monk Within: Great Monastic Values for Today, which is still one of my favorite on the subject of bringing monastic spirituality to contemporary life. Then I discovered The Wisdom of the Celtic Saints which is a treasure and I also love Stories of the Celtic Soul Friends which dives deeply into the practice of soul friendship, so much at the heart of Celtic wisdom
Ed shared this beautiful blessing to begin our time together:
Let us go forth
In the goodness of our merciful Father,
In the gentleness of our brother Jesus,
In the radiance of his Holy Spirit,
In the faith of the apostles,
In the joyful praise of the angels,
In the holiness of the saints,
In the courage of the martyrs.
Let us go forth,
In the wisdom of our all-seeing Father,
In the patience of our all-loving brother,
In the truth of the all-knowing Spirit,
In the learning of the apostles,
In the gracious guidance of the angels,
In the patience of the saints,
In the self-control of the martyrs.
Such is the path for all servants of Christ,
The path from death to eternal life.
from Celtic Prayers by Robert Van De Weyer (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan,1997).
*Opening music track is an excerpt from Simon DeVoil's song "Water" on his album Heart Medicine (used with kind permission)