Holy in the Daily

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Celtic Prayer For Unexpected Guests

a celtic cross for a celtic prayer

I wish life was predictable, but it is not. Yet, blessings often sneak in unexpectedly if we have prepared our hearts to be interrupted.

I sometimes view unexpected phone calls as interruptions to my planned day, especially if the call is from someone needing something from me “right now.” Slow traffic, long lines at the grocery counter, work related demands, and the neighbor who drops in unexpectedly when I have been up all night with a sick kid and the house hasn’t seen “clean” in a month—these interruptions frustrate me.

What if all the people involved in these situations were viewed as unexpected guests into my life? Might a new perspective adjust my attitude and my interactions with them?

Brigid of Kildare was a woman who looked for the unexpected. She lived between 450 and 523 and was known for her generosity and hospitality to all, but especially to strangers, the poor, and the sick. She never saw people as interruptions to her life, but as guests to be welcomed. This is one of her house prayers still used by many as they prepare their hearts and lives to be interrupted by unexpected guests.

I would welcome the poor

and honour them.

I would welcome the sick

in the presence of angels

and ask God to bless and

embrace us all.

Seeing a stranger approach,

I would put food in the eating place.

drink in the drinking place,

music in the listening place,

and look with joy for the blessing of God,

who often comes to my home

in the blessing of a stranger.

We call upon the Sacred Three

to save, shield and surround

this house, this home,

this day, this night,

and every night.

You’ll find more of Brigid’s prayers in Celtic Daily Prayer—Prayers and Readings From the Northumbria Community. (See right sidebar for more details.) But for now, how do you prepare your heart and life to be interrupted by the unexpected guest?

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Kathy

    Hmmmm – what a powerful message! I get so focused on the doing that I forget about the being. I pray that when life sends an interruption that I remember to thank God for His perfect opportunity.

  2. mary

    I love the heart of hospitality in this prayer. 🙂

  3. Susan Gaddis

    Oh Kathy, well said. I get focused on doing instead of being also. I tend to be a first born always on the way to someplace. So “being” is a hard one.

    And Mary, I think you are a great example of this “heart of hospitality.”

  4. Lilly Green


  5. Beth Piepenburg

    When we operate our days by hours and minutes, as if we were gears on a mechanical clock, we have no time for interruptions and delays. Deadlines must be met. Therefore, interruptions and delays can only be seen as intrusions.

    The rhythm of life is elastic and gentle, and should be allowed to flow in response to physical necessity, external circumstances, or whim. Then, we have time for people.

  6. Lorraine Mabbett

    “I wish life was predictable, but it is not. Yet, blessings often sneak in unexpectedly if we have prepared our hearts to be interrupted.”
    Caring for the elderly, infirmed spouses, handicapped children, is an “interruption” our society chooses not to invite into their lives. They pass it on to institutions or the unmarried members of the family and end up missing out on a blessing. Younger people have quantity but the elderly have quality of life.

  7. Susan Gaddis

    I agree, Lorraine. Having a handicapped nephew has been a blessing to all of us who are involved in his life, even in little ways. My mom was blessed to have my sister living next door to help her out before she passed on. That is an experience my sister would never have wanted to share with an institution unless she had to, and thankfully, she didn’t. I enjoyed my visits with mom, but lived too far away to see her daily. Those are good memories.

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