Priests’ Blessing

Our local clergy chapter were meeting this week, and I was ‘hosting’. Usually, part of hosting involves preparing some prayers and worship. As we were also ‘RememberingSt Martin of Tours, I had a few things up my sleeve, including a fine shell remembering the pilgrims that stopped at St Martin’s shrine in Tours on the Way of St James.

New Zealand Paua - credit ReedWade
New Zealand Paua - credit ReedWade

Actually the shell was in my pocket, rather than up my sleeve; and paua were not really the sorts of shells that pilgrims on the way to Compostela normally wore (they were usually scallops… But these paua are exquisite. We have brought back dozens from NZ over the years.

Back to prayers and blessings. I have dabbled a bit in Celtic Spirituality over the years, and recently acquired a copy of a couple of John O’Donohue’s books.

John ODonohue
John O'Donohue

John, an Irish Catholic priest, with a gentle turn of phrase and wonderful insight, made a great impact in Celtic spirituality circles in the last 15 years or so, becoming a Greenbelt favourite. Sadly, he died suddenly, and unexpectedly last year, aged just 52 – but not without leaving us some gems.

This blessing looked like just the thing for a clergy chapter…

For Priesthood

May the blessings released through your hands
Cause windows to open in darkened minds.

May the sufferings your calling brings
Be but winter before the spring.

May the companionship of your doubt
Restore what your beliefs leave out.

May the secret hungers of your heart
Harvest from emptiness its sacred fruit.

May your solitude be a voyage
Into the wilderness and wonder of God.

May your words have the prophetic edge
To enable the heart to hear itself.

May the silence where your calling dwells
Foster your freedom in all you do and feel.

May you find words full of divine warmth
To clothe the dying in the language of dawn.

May the slow light of the Eucharist
Be a sure shelter around your future.

John O’Donohue
Benedictus – A Book of Blessings: 2007

Benedictus - A Book of Blessings - John ODonohue
Benedictus - A Book of Blessings - John O'Donohue

I picked up this book recently on the on the ever-present Amazooo…..

An interesting aside: through having picked up a copy second-hand, is that the ‘one careful previous owner’ seems to have found life very hard, from all the other blessings ‘starred’ in the index: times of challenge, for courage, in absence, for grief, for one who is exhausted, for broken trust, for the break-up of a relationship…

In fact many of the poems/blessings in O’Donohue’s book are full of light. But I think there is another blog waiting somewhere, on ‘parts of a book we have ticked’ – and why…

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