Today we travel from the deserts of Egypt to the shores of Provence to the far reaches of England, Ireland and Scotland.
I learned to my great surprise that St. Patrick, the "founder" of Christianity in Ireland was actual;y trained as a monk at Lerins Abbey in Ile Honorat, off the shore of Cannes-- not far from La Baume. The monastic tradition established by St . John Cassian at La Baume is a mirror for the Celtic Christian church : double monasteries of men and women, with an equal emphasis on nature, study, silence and song. The "theme song" of St. Patrick (The Lorica, also known as the Deer's Cry) is clearly related to one of the Psalms appointed for the celebraiton of the Feastday of Mary Magdalene. Psalm 42 begins, "As the deer longs for the waterbrook, so yeanr my soul for you, O God",
The Deer`s Cry of St Patrick I arise today Through the strength of heaven; Light of the sun, Splendor of fire, Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind, Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth, Firmness of the rock. I arise today Through God’s strength to pilot me; God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s hosts to save me, Afar and anear, Alone or in a mulitude. Christ shield me today Against wounding, Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me. I arise today Through the mighty strength Of the Lord of creation.
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Year,s Diarmhid McCullough The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels A New New Testament: A Gospel for the 21st Century, ed. Hal Taussig Listening for the Heartbeat of God, John Philip Newell How the Irish Saved Civilization, Thomas Cahill Institutes and Conferences, John Cassian The Desert Fathers and Mothers- many good texts, including books by Thomas Merton and Christine Vault Paintner
Above is Catherine Braslavksy's searing and raw rendition of Thunder Perfect Mind, one of the texts recovered from the caves of Nag Hammadi in 1945, now believed to have been hidden for safety by Pachomian monks.