“Under the Trees,” Thomas Moran, 1865, WikiArt.

Part 6: Christian Pagans

Yes, I have visited and prayed at pagan sites,
Knelt on ground holy as that of monasteries,
Presence of God equal, damp stone churches
Or open sunny glades, clear streams flowing,
Ancient rock formations, they are my sacred
Altar as well, pagans my friends in Christ and
In their gods. Who else will his new followers
Be, if not these devout religious clans, having
Wandered these Celtic shores and woodlands
For thousand years, will bring Christianity
To fullness and to life amongst Irish Isles.

As Sister Muriel, I carry staff of Christ, cross
Hand-carved upon its top. I follow no sect,
My congregation amongst trees and hillsides,
Friends approaching for guidance, healing,
Faith-restoring prayers. All are welcome in
His name, none turned away, penniless and
Forlorn, beggars, farmers, hesitant Druids,
Table prepared for all, food shared, in Christ’s
Holy presence, human face and form, his
Disciples fishermen, knowing boats and nets
As Celtic tribes, long inhabiting this land.

Thus is my ministry of love, not condemnation,
I give of self freely, possessions, food, blanket,
All offerings in charity, as they are given me.
Alas! I am reviled not by peasants or by pagans,
But by monks sequestered in stone churches,
Narrow-windowed views of Ireland, spreading
Far and wild beyond finite sight. In tearful
Prayer, I ask aloud, “Who are the meek, pure in
Heart, peacemakers, those who conquer by
Swords and decrees, or by sharing fire-cooked
Fish? By this way, I shall Christ’s messenger be.

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1834 – 1890, Wikimedia.

Such are ironies, prayers for miracles, warming
Stone-cold hearts of men. Without faith, can
True healing be? O! To touch Christ’s sacred
Robes! His words I long for: “Daughter, your
Faith has healed you. Go in peace.” * Lo! I shall
Stay upon this straight path, daily walking in
His Irish kingdom, here and now, sunrises,
Beauty of each day, cloud-swept or blue skies
Clear and ocean-deep. We are but mustard
Seeds in Christ, sewn upon pagan, fertile
Fields, his enduring message: forgiveness,
Love, and eternal life.

* Luke 8:43-48

Sister Muriel is a fictional poetic character and mystic, who
inistered to Celtic Ireland during advent of Christianity and
early monasteries, circa 6th or 7th century.
  For more on Christ
and his disciples possibly visiting pagan sites, see this link:

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