Brendan the Navigator: Mountain Prayer

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But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

“Brendan is one of the best loved of all the Celtic saints. The story of his sea voyages has held a special fascination for every generation. In the accounts that have been handed down to us the distinction between actual events and interior vision and experiences is not always clear… The voyage of adventure is an appropriate analogy of the spiritual journey that each of us is challenged to undertake.

Part 1
Brendan’s companions notice that his heart has been stirred. He is caught by a vision. A place beyond his present shores is calling to his yearning spirit. Does he know with a certainty that he must go? ‘We will go with you,’ they say. ‘We will journey where you journey. Your God is our God – for life or death we follow.’ Brendan climbs the mountain alone and searches his heart to test the truth of what he feels. And this is Brendan’s mountain prayer.

Shall I abandon the comforts and benefits of my home,
seeking the island of promise our fathers knew long ago,
sail on the face of the deep where no riches or fame
or weapons protect you, and nobody honors your name?
Shall I take leave of my friends
and my beautiful native land,
tears in my eyes
as my knees mark my final prayer in the sand?
King of the mysteries, will You set watch over me?
Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You on the sea?

Christ of the heavens,
and Christ of the ravenous ocean wave,
I will hold fast to my course
Through the dangers I must brave.
King of the mysteries, angels will watch over me,
Christ of the mysteries, when I trust You on the sea.

Brendan’s example speaks to us each:
Have I the courage to leave the familiar
and journey to the unknown?
To journey beyond the way I have prayed,
the life I have lived, the sensible and the secure?
to trust God to take me beyond these familiar shores?

Christ of the mysteries, can I trust You on the sea?”

Brendan the Navigator (c.476-575) in Celtic Daily Prayer (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) 178-179.

This is only the beginning of Brendan’s mountain prayer but it touches on an idea that impacts our generosity. Can we, or rather, will we trust Christ? To pursue the adventures God has for each of us, we must either try to sort things by our own strength or put our trust in Christ.

In Brendan’s prayer he describes the place God is calling us to as “the deep where no riches or fame or weapons protect you, and nobody honors your name.” In this light, our generosity will be just what he supplies and accomplishes through us, and not anything we can plan or muster.

It comes through trusting Christ. While I won’t share the rest of Brendan’s prayer, what I will do is challenge you to join me in going out to the deep. Get out of your comfort zone. Trust Christ to guide, provide, and give you the security and fuel the generosity that He has planned for you.

As I shared last week, I hurt my back. It appears I have herniated another disc. If that’s not enough of a mountain to climb I contracted COVID. Pray for my family as Sophie (our daughter), Peter (our son in law), Jenni (my wife), and I are all COVID+. Christ, thanks that you are with us in our time of suffering.