Ninian of Whithorn: Circle and Bless

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Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16

“Ninian returned to Scotland after traveling and studying in Europe. At Whithorn he and a team of skilled builders built a gleaming white stone monastery which became famous throughout the land for education, prayer, and mission.

Sometimes he liked to visit the shepherds and herdsman who tended the flocks and cattle belonging to the monastery. Once he had all the animals gathered into one place so that he could pray a blessing on them. Last of all, he came to the cattle, and with his staff drew around them a circle of protection. Everyone ate, listened to Ninian, then went off to their sleep. The cattle remained, and were noticed by thieves. No wall. No hedge. No ditch. No barking dogs! Just lots of cattle waiting to be carried away!

The thieves rushed inside the circle that Ninian had drawn. The bull of the herd rushed at the men and, attacking their leader, pierced his belly with its horns so that the entrails were torn from him. The bull’s hoof tore at the earth and dug its imprint into a stone there, so that the place became known as ‘The Bull’s Print’. Meanwhile Ninian, finishing his prayer, came past that place as saw the man lying dead and the other thieves running hither and thither nearly. He prayed to God to restore the man to life and health, and did not cease his tears and entreaties till it was so. The other thieves had found themselves unable to leave the confines of the circle until, begging Ninian’s forgiveness and being scolded by him, he bade them depart. And only then could they cross the circle.

Prayers for the blessing of the land and of life

As gulls in hunger’s flight keep to the boat’s track, may we follow in Ninian’s wake.

As we hunger and thirst for truth, may we follow in Ninian’s wake.

May we sound the depths of love for Ninian’s and for Christ’s sake

In the strong name of Jesus, we bless all that is living, and recognize in all that lives the reflection of the Word who said, ‘Let there be life and it lives.’

Teach us to care for all that is entrusted to us and nurture every sign of your presence.

Circle our dear ones in Your love and blessing; and protect us all from evil and from danger.

Give us open eyes to see beyond what others say is possible. Give us the insight to recognize and name deceit.

May the blessing of our love and our strong joy in blessing call out new growth in everyone we know and meet.

Give us a generosity that pushes back the boundaries for even death by You has been defeated. With all our powers we find our power in You.

The light shines on, and life is lived in You.

Ninian of Whithorn (360-432) in Celtic Daily Prayer (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) 194-196.

The stories and prayers of the Celtic saints are so inspiring. Today’s post fills me with life, despite and aching back and other symptoms related to Covid. It has inspired me to draw circles around those entrusted to me, my family, the whole GTP team, the GTP global network, even the readers of Daily Meditations around the world.

I pray to the Father that these posts will “call out new growth in everyone” so that they too have faith to circle and bless others. I pray in the strong name of Jesus for “a generosity that pushes back the boundaries of even death” as He conquered it, delivering each one from harm and sickness (including Covid). And I pray that the Spirit will empower each of us to find power in God alone.

The light only shines through those with such power. In the name of the Holy Three, Empower my family, the GTP team, the GTP global network, and readers of Daily Meditations around the world for your glory to call out new growth, exhibit rich generosity, and find power to circle and bless all those they serve so their lives shine like light for your glory. Amen.