"The heart is but a small vessel," wrote St. Marcarius, "and yet dragons and lions are there, and there poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough uneven places are there, and gaping chasms. There likewise is God, there are the angels, there life and the Kingdom, the light and the apostles . . . all things are there." It is hardly surprising that such cosmic awareness should find echoes with the Celtic saints even though they were themselves not so much interested in abstract speculation. Yet they knew from their own experience, and from the kind of life that they lived, something of the answer to that question of Isaac the Syrian "What is a charitable heart?" for they were themselves a living answer.

Esther de Waal, Every Earthly Blessing