Three Palmfuls of God

For my Liturgical Prayer class, one of our assignments in the upcoming week is to do morning and evening prayers in the Celtic tradition, taken from Esther DeWaal’s book Every Earthly Blessing: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition. I read through some of the prayers yesterday, and in preparation to begin the practice today, I typed up one of the morning prayers and posted it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder. After a very restless and sleepless night, admittedly, the prayer that was foremost in my mind when I got up this morning was one of lament and anguish. When I went into the bathroom to wash my face, I was struck by the reminder of this simple prayer on my mirror. One is to say this prayer as she splashes her face with three palmfuls of water in the name of the Trinity:

    The palmful of God of Life

    The palmful of the Christ of Love

    The palmful of the Spirit of Peace

        Triune

        Of grace.

            ~~written by Carmina Gadelica

I cannot adequately articulate what happened to me when I splashed my face and prayed this prayer, but as the water mixed with my tears, I was reminded of baptism and was overcome with the recognition of God’s claim on my life. Just as God is in relationship within the three personas of the Trinity, humanity was created in the image and likeness of God. As such, we were created for relationship with the Divine and each other. Baptism is a covenant, or a promise, of that relationship. We are baptized by water and the Spirit, and this act serves as our incorporation into the Church, the body of Christ. It is not a private act, but a public one indicating that as relational people, we are not only brought into union with Christ, we are also brought into union with the Church. Through baptism, we are claimed as God’s own.

Though very short and seemingly simple, this prayer profoundly changed the course of my day. I look forward to continuing this practice. Until next time, peace …

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