"From this center there comes a vivid sense of a God who knows, loves, supports, is close at hand, and actually present in their lives. Of course this sense of divine presence and protection are found elsewhere in the history of the Church, but I feel that nowhere else is it found with quite the same intensity. It is one of the many gifts of the Celtic tradition to us, and it is perhaps the most important. . . . They speak of God dwelling in his world, and in our lives in such a way that Emmanuel, God with us, becomes a reality. It is there right from the start in St. Patrick's breastplate, with its 'Christ within me,' the indwelling God, who is claimed in a way that is virtually tangible. This is a God physically present, alongside, behind, before, above, below. God is companion, guest, fellow, traveler, friend, fellow worker. Some of the most-used words that we find in these prayers are encircle, encompass, uphold, surround. This flows from their real, lived-out grasp of the centrality of the incarnation. 'God with us' is true! Of course they also know God as transcendent, and they write superbly of Go as the creator God, all-powerful, all-knowing. But they also know that he is present here and now in the world that he has made.

"These are simple prayers, but we should not be misled by that. They come out of hearts that are full of gratitude, thankfulness. They are not beseeching God to give them this, or grant them that. They are recognizing that God has showered them with blessings and they thank him for what he has given."