13 January 2010

A Medieval Welsh Poem

"The Advice of Addaon"

I asked all the priests of the world,
The bishops and judges,
What most profits the soul.

The Lord's prayer, the Beati and holy creed,
All sung for the sake of the soul,
Are best practiced until Judgment Day.

If only you shape your own path
And build up peace,
You shall see no end of mercy.

Feed the hungry and clothe the naked,
Sing out in praise,
For you have escaped the Devil's number.

But the proud and idle, pain on their flesh
On account of excess,
Must be winnowed until they are pure.

Too much sleep, drunkenness and sipping of mead,
Too much pandering to the body,
That is their sweet bitterness before Judgment Day.

They who commit perjury for land and deceive their Lord,
Who pour scorn on the humble,
Shall know regret on Judgment Day.

By rising for matins and by midnight vigils,
By praying to the saints,
Every Christian shall receive forgiveness.


Anonymous said...

So cool J --- where did you find this???? It really resonates with the "Celtic" mind. Is it Gerald of Wales?

Anonymous said...

Ha! mary, an expat who befriended me on my blog, said to use "anonymous" to make comments...IT WORKED! :)

Anonymous said...

This is great! Sounds very Orthodox...a practical experiential faith that embraces suffering.

Justinian said...

Columbina: I recently procured for myself a copy of the "Celtic Spirituality" book from Paulist Press' Classics of Western Spirituality series. It's quite good--a couple of the selection are, unfortunately, from condemned heretics...but, even that can be useful to read sometimes. For the most part, it is quite an interesting volume, and contains a lot of stuff I have not seen translated before. For the record, I have no idea if it is Gerald or not. My initial reaction is that it is earlier than that (since there is no author given, and where there are authors for things, this text supplies them).

Todd: Of course it sounds Orthodox, because it is! Don't forget that, until 1066, the Christians (both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon) of the Isles were perfectly Orthodox. In fact, I just made a post about it...and you can listen to me talk about it if you follow the links :D

Suzanne said...

Hiya J!

That is a really good book - I've read it. Another that is very good, for the less intellectual is called Sundancing by g. morehouse. It's a layperson's guide to the real Celtic monastic mind. A fantastic read with some good bibliography etc. The author is very sensitive to the Celtic "version" of Christianity and although he doesn't realize it maybe, he paints a wonderful picture of a Celtic patristic mind.

I sincerely think it is very interesting to get reactions to things like this from our more Eastern brothers and sisters. I gave a copy of Sundancing, for example, to my daughter's godmother who is Russian born/raised/cradle Orthodox. She came back CRYING. She said she wanted to tell all of Russia that "Ireland was Orthodox" --- that the Russians NEEDED to know this.

The Celtic mind, being born of a very tribal people, and then becoming Orthodox Christian is a very unique thing in the history of the Church. Although they are all gone now, of course, and there is no real living representative of Celtic Orthodoxy for centureis, their writings still inspire and manage to soften even the most hardened hearts. It really is truly amazing.

I used to mount "icons" of prints from the Book of Kells onto beautiful hand polished wood boards and sell them at Renaissance faires. They were always sold out by the end of every weekend. I think that is EXTREMELY interesting! People would look at them and literally "fall in love".


Justinian said...

I think the message got to Russia. ROCOR, after all, just a couple of years ago adopted the second Sunday after Pentecost as the Feast of All the Saints of the British Isles. I have the official service text here. One day, if I ever get around to putting together that Complete Reader Service Horologion, I plan to include the materials for the Akathist for All the Saints of the Isles in the back.

One this is for sure--I find the prayers of those Obscure Celts and Anglo-Saxon saints to be very effective. I love their stories. I love their zeal. I love their triumphs of faith. I love their deep and abiding understanding of God and their wonder at His creation. There's so very much that we can learn from them.

It's no surprise to me, at all, that people love their art. It is, after all, a theological commentary in pictograph; the intertwining knots come to symbolize, for the Christian Celts, the promise of the union with God. All the zoomorophic creatures with the knots symbolize that the divine is all around us, here with us--not separated, as the West has come to believe. It makes you think about what Emmanuel really means.

God bless you, my friend!