Book Review – The Celtic Book of Days
Two of my best friends recently had an incredible opportunity – to travel to Ireland for a doctoral level class on St. Patrick and the history of the Irish church. As I talked with one of them about the trip before they left, he recommended several books that were required reading for the course. As I looked at some of them, it stirred my desire to learn more about Celtic Christianity and its practices, which led me to a LOT of time browsing on Amazon, and eventually, to The Celtic Book of Days.
The timing was perfect for me. I had felt “stuck” for a couple of months in my quiet times – just sort of going through the motions, not sure where to read in the Bible, not motivated to journal – stuck.
I bought and downloaded The Celtic Book of Days and immediately benefited from it.
In some ways, it’s very similar to most devotionals. There are daily themes, daily Scripture readings, a verse to ponder, a short devotional meditation, and then a closing reading of some kind – often a prayer or a quote from ancient Celtic Christian writings.
The daily Scripture readings are broken down very simply – a Psalm, a reading from another Old Testament passage, and a reading from a New Testament passage. Usually after the list, there is a verse to read and consider.
But the actual devotional material is what sets this book apart. Some are writings from various Celtic theologians and spiritual leaders. But many are stories from the lives of great Celtic saints. Here are a few examples:
• Drithelm, a man who died and then shocked his family by coming back to life the next day. While dead, he had an unusual vision and experience that led him to give away his entire estate and join a monastery.
• Columba, a bishop who had a vision of angels coming to take him home to heaven. Many of his monks prayed that God would spare his life. Much to Columba’s disappointment, God gave him four more years of life on this earth before taking him home.
• Ciaran, a young man who was used mightily by God to plant many churches. He was struck down by the plague. Knowing he was dying, he asked to be shut up in a little church until his friend Kevin could see him one last time. Ciaran died, but was left in the church by his fellow monks. When Kevin arrived, Ciaran’s spirit re-entered his body and he was granted one day of fellowship with his friend Kevin. At the end of the day, he blessed his friend and then passed on.
These kinds of stories fill the book. They are faith-building and inspiring. I have found myself encouraged and challenged as I have read and journaled my way through the Book of Days over the past few months.
I would highly recommend this devotional to anyone who is looking for something different, something unique, or something to help “jumpstart” them out of a difficult time and place spiritually. You can purchase the Kindle edition here.