TOUCH

 

ogham caldey

So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates — Matthew 24.33

 

ACCORDING TO VATICAN records, October 26th is the Feast of St Gwynno, who seems most likely to be the 6th Century Celtic church leader behind the name given to the church of St Gwynour. Gwynno was a follower of Illtyd and both probably lived for some time on Caldey Island, where they were priest-monks, before travelling between Wales, Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany as missionaries, setting up llan communities and centres of spiritual and philosophical learning.
In the picture above, you can see me putting my hand on a stone known as “The Ogham Stone” which is now on the wall of the ancient abbey chapel on Caldey Island. The stone is marked with the ancient Celtic language along the edges, as well as Latin inscription on the face of it. A cross is carved in there too. The stone is dated from 5th or 6th Century so perhaps Gwynno touched it too; who knows? Anyway, I had gone there in the night while staying on the island with the monks a few years ago. I was a little scared going there alone through the dark woods to the ruined abbey but I wanted to spend some time there in prayer while the tourists weren’t around. I suppose I wanted in some way to connect with the Celtic church of my ancestors and touching the stone was a kind of physical metaphor for that. Imagination and interpretation can be fed by such things but, for me there was more in the touch than just intellectual projection. At deeper levels of my consciousness, there was a dissolving of the centuries, of time and matter, where all time/place becomes one time one place.
This Sunday is, for various parts of today’s church body, Bible Sunday. The Bible can be read as a history book, connecting us with our ancestors in faith, or as a manual to live by, full of moral codes and commandments from God Almighty. It can be the unfolding theology of peoples over millennia. There is of course value in such reading styles but each have a tendency to objectify God and so place God at a distance. The Bible is far more than stimulation for religious or existential theory or judgemental morality. Scripture is alive and it can speak to any and all of us directly and in the moment of reading. It contains the very breath of God, as we do, as does everything and everyone around us. It has the power to connect us with it all. If we contemplate it and let it breathe in us, Scripture brings God closer to us than any sense of touch.

~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on October 30, 2017.

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