TIME seems to be flying by. It’s hard to believe that August has arrived so quickly! I pray that this wonderful season of hope will be filled with health and rich blessings for us all.
Even though we’re still in holiday season, the Celtic festival of Lughnasa heralds the beginning of early harvest. Marking the cross-quarter day between summer solstice on 21 June and autumn equinox on 21 September, it is traditionally held on the first day of August, though some of the celebrations in recent centuries have shifted to the Sunday nearest this date.
As one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, Lughnasa heralds the beginning of autumn, followed by samhain and winter, imbolg and spring, then Bealtine and summer.
Lughnasa itself is named after Lugh, an Irish God called samildanach (pronounced sam-ill-dawn-ack), meaning he was highly adept in many arts simultaneously. There are countless inscriptions and statues dedicated to him and Julius Caesar himself commented on his importance to the Celtic people.
There is something very fulfilling about eating fresh vegetables that you have nurtured and cultivated with your own hands. As we celebrate the beginning of harvest time, once again we are reminded of God’s bounty when harvest time comes. In Celtic times, this season of Lunasa was an occasion of thanksgiving. The Celtic people burnt huge fires, danced and celebrated many rituals as they thanked God for the food and sustenance that nourished them as they faced the darker and more vulnerable months of the year. Harvest time is indeed a time of rich blessing, a time to gather all that has been planted and cared for since the early spring. There can be no harvest without all the necessary tilling, planting, pruning, weeding and nourishing that accompany any fruit that ripens into something good.
Perhaps this harvest time is an opportunity for all of us to acknowledge the fruits that we all have in the depth of our being – fruits that take a lot of time to grow and mature into the beautiful personality and unique qualities that are particular to all our stories; the gift of grandparents, who embody the story of every harvest; parents who respond so generously to the needs of their children. In many ways, parenting could be likened to tending the needs of the vineyard. It is constant, demanding, most challenging and in many ways totally dependent on the unconditional generosity and reservoir of love that provides for the needs of family life. I am often truly inspired by the time and, indeed, sacrifices that so many wonderful parents so often make for their children to allow them to grow and realise the best possible harvest for their family.
No fruit or talent can realise its potential without effort and work.
Thank you, O Lord, your love is boundless
***Thank you, O Lord, your love is boundless
Thank you, that I am full of you
Thank you, you make me feel so glad
and thankful as I do.
Thank you for all the grains of wheat
Thank you for all the bread we eat
Thank you for all the turf we gather
Thank you we will have plenty heat
Thank you for all the ripe bananas
Thank you for orchards in the field.
Thank you for all the new potatoes
Thank you for all the beans and peas
Thank you for all our gifts and talents
Thank you we share with those in need.
Thank you I see your world has meaning
Thank you I know your spirit is here
Thank you because you love all people
Those both far and near.***