13 January 2016


Today’s entry in Ray Simpson’s book, The Celtic Book of Days, is titled, “Unwanted Baby”, and tells the story of Tannoc, the daughter to King Loth of Dunpelder.

The story goes that when Tannoc was a child, her father sent her off to a convent where she gave her life to Christ and excelled in “atmosphere of spiritual and intellectual learning.” Later, when she was 15, her dad offered her in marriage to a Prince Owen of Rheged (gee, thanks, dad). When Tannoc refused, she was exiled. In a shocking display of sexual violence, Owen tracked her down and raped her. Alone and rejected by her family and the convent, a local community of peasant farmers took her in and cared for her.

When Tannoc gave birth to her son, the farmers contacted a neighboring priest who christened the child “Mungo” (meaning “my beloved”) and adopted them both. Saint Mungo became the founder and patron saint of Glasgow.

The reflection Simpson gives talks about carrying “unwanted life” (whether literal or metaphorical) and “the living scars of rejection and loss of identity.” He then goes on to say “God has purpose for you and for that which you carry within you.” He then tells us to remember Mungo when fear and doubt begins to creep in. Simpson finishes this entry by saying—

“Believe that something beloved, something (or someone) with authority and sainthood will come into being through you. The God of creation can use even our deepest wounds to bring good into the world.”

I like that. If you or someone you love is carrying “unwanted life” or “living scars” may you find those words of healing for you for God is “ever present in our pain.”

In the Love of the Three In One,

Br. Jack+, LC


Today’s entry in The Celtic Book of Days, is titled, “The Divine Plan.” In it, Simpson tells two stories about the plans God had for Columba and Samson.

Columba’s mother, Eithne, dreamt that she was given a cloak containing “every color of the rainbow.” A young man in her dream told Eithne that the cloak meant she’ll have a son, “and Ireland and Scotland will be full of his teaching.”

Samson’s father, Amon, didn’t want Samson to follow God’s plan for his life, so he refused to send Samson to a Christian school. But, after a very powerful dream, Amon said to his wife, Anna, “Let’s lose no time in sending our son, rather God’s son, to school, for God’s with him and we ought to do nothing against God.”

I know that I fought God’s plan for my life for a long time. God used others—my Mother, friends, even strangers—and some dark times to get me to quit running from it.  And, honestly, it’s still something that I struggle with. But, the prayer at the end of today’s entry sums up my feelings very well:

Lord, help me to relax into your plan for me.
Unfold it for me as the acorn unfolds into the oak.

What about you? Do you think God has a plan for your life? If so, has God revealed that to you? What are your next steps to “relax into [God’s] plan” for your life?

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC

12 January 2016


Today’s entry in Ray Simpson’s book, The Celtic Book of Days, is titled, “A Nursery of Saints.” Simpson asks us if our “faith communities” are either lifeless museums or life fostering nurseries. He then tells the story of St. Comgall.

It seems the day before his birth, Mac Nisse of Connor exclaimed that a passing carriage carried a future king. However, when the carriage was inspected, all that was found was “Sedna and his pregnant wife Birga.” Mac Nisse, of course, meant the child Birga was carrying—Comgall.

Comgall went on to found the great monastery at Bangor where several thousand monks resided. Their service booklet, The Antiphonary of Bangor, resides in the Ambrosian Library in Milan, and can be viewed online. Simpson gets his title for today’s entry from a comment by Bernard of Clairvaux who described the monastery as “the nursery of saints.”

It seems that what Simpson (and Bernard of Clairvaux) is suggesting that our communities of faith be places that help other followers in their growth. And I agree with that. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28.19). To me, making disciples is about helping people grow in Christ. It’s helping them become more like Christ. It’s helping them on their journeys into theosis (deification).

How is your community of faith? Is it more of a museum or a nursery? If it’s a museum, what steps can you do to help it become a nursery?

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br. Jack+, LC