Jack’s New Book of Celtic Blessings

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

When I was preparing for the release of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings, I started writing a companion book with my Scottie dog, Jack, in which he would offer his own blessings. Now, three years later, Jack’s Book of Blessings is available! It was released on March 16th and, starting on the 17th, has been running #1 in Amazon New Releases in the category of Irish and British poetry. At least for now it is ranked above works by Seamus Heaney, Mary Robinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Blake, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. (I can see Jack’s smile from beyond the rainbow bridge and his questioning gaze, asking, “Can I have a Special Treat?”)

More about Jack’s Book:

Jack the Scottie tells you about his day with poems for every activity from breakfast to going to sleep. Jack’s Celtic-style blessings lead us through each moment of the day: the walk, the leash, the treats, the lap, the dog park (and even the not-so-enjoyable bath). The book features original drawings of Jack, drawn by his companion and co-author of the book, Beth A. Richardson.

Introduction by Roberta Bondi

The introduction of this special book is written Roberta Bondi and Curly, her white-haired Bichon Frisée. Dr. Roberta C. Bondi is professor emerita of church history and spirituality, Candler School of Theology. Roberta writes, “These are such great prayers, which the world always needs, especially in these hard times, but they were also written by a dog. Everybody knows that dogs are especially good at blessing others as well as asking others to bless them. Jack, of course, was always particularly articulate in his own canine way, and as a true lover of God, others, and the everyday world he lived in, he was perfectly suited to write this book.”

Praise from Cats and Dogs:

At last! A book that goes beyond affirming we non-humans bless God, to one that translates those blessings! Jack’s Scottish Celtic heritage proves ideal for framing this universal expression of praise. As a Norwegian Forest cat, my prayers are more reserved than Jack’s, and I certainly do not have his sort of co-dependent relationship with my humans (“Mom,” p. 3, really?!). But the nap, the bed, the treats, the lap, these are universal in relationships with domesticated humans, every one of whom should read this book to strengthen their often inconstant faith.
– Pepper Allen, Norwegian Forest cat

Jack has penned such lovely blessings for the life of us dogs. We treasure all the things that matter–our families, our food, the smells, the walks. Jack rocks!
– Graford and Fiona Earle, border collies

About the Authors

Beth A. Richardson, is a writer, photographer, editor, cartoonist, and lover of dogs. She is the author of a companion book to Jack’s Book of Blessings called Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings published by The Upper Room, Nashville, TN.

Jack, a Scottish Terrier, was born in Indiana and lived with Beth and her family in Nashville, Tennessee. Jack the Scottie was a “real dog.” (Cartoon Jack, however, was much more cooperative than “real Jack.”) Jack passed away suddenly in October of 2018. He lives on in the hearts of many.

Get a copy from Amazon: Jack’s Book of Blessings: Celtic Poems by a Scottie Dog

St. Patrick

I’m thinking today of St. Patrick and those holy days in July when we were on pilgrimage in Ireland.

The stained glass window above is in Saul Church, the site of Patrick’s first church. It is the only depiction we saw with Patrick clothed in blue rather than the green we know today.

I wrote this reflection there in that holy place.

St. Patrick, I thought I knew you, the saint of stained glass and mitres, of shamrocks and crosiers.

Today we celebrate your feast day with parades and green beer. But the color of your adopted country is blue. And the old ones took your feast day as a time for abstinence and prayer.

Let me see past the 21st-century Patrick to the Patrick of 432, the man called to return to his place of bondage and bring the word of love.

Let me reclaim your remembrance as a holy time, an opportunity for service to the poor, the hungry, the enslaved. For you once were poor, hungry, and enslaved. Let me reclaim your remembrance with gratitude and humility.

Pray for me. Pray for us, Patrick.

Brigid of Kildare

The Feast Day of Brigid of Kildare is February 1. When we were in Ireland in July, we walked in Brigid’s footsteps in Kildare at her cathedral and at her well. But Brigid was everywhere we went, and it was in the west in County Donegal where we learned to make Brigid’s crosses and heard the story of how the cross of reeds became her symbol.

Brigid was explaining Christianity to her father and took up the reeds from the floor of the cottage and wove them into a cross. On St. Brigid’s day, people still make Brigid’s crosses and remember Brigid.

A Blessing for All Saints Day

On the Ireland Pilgrimage in July, 2017, we visited the ruins of the monastic community of Glendalough. There in the 6th and 7th century, Christians lived and died, sang and prayed, loved one another. We spent a day walking through the city, ending in the ruins of the Saint Mary’s church, the place where the religious women would have worshiped. We had a eucharist service there, led by women.

I went back early the next morning to record this blessing for All Saints Day that is in my book. I’m so grateful to be able to share it with you.

For more information on my book, learn more.

Columcille’s Stations

We walked in the steps of Columcille during our pilgrimage to ancient, sacred places in Glencolumcille.

Born in this County Donegal in the 500’s he was a “descendant” of Patrick’s Christianity.

Columcille blessed the ancient places, the neolithic markers and holy wells.

And now, thousands of years later, Margaret and Marian take us on this sacred pilgrimage.

If we had been here in June 9th, the feast day of Columcille, we could have joined the old ones walking, barefoot, the night before.

The Place of the Knees, the Height of the Cross, St. Columcille’s Chapel, St. Columcille’s Chair, St. Columcille’s Well. We walked between them in community, in silence.

I felt honored to be shown this ancient ritual. I worried about intruding on another culture’s sacred places.

And then I realized that this pilgrimage is part of my Christian culture. For I am descended, our church is descended from these Celtic saints who brought Christianity to Ireland and to Scotland. 

I am, we are, recipients of the faith of Patrick and Brigid and Columcille and Kevin. Thanks be to God for this gift.

Glencolumbkille to Dublin

Today we travel back across Ireland from County Donegal to Dublin. On the way, we will stop at the Knowth passage tomb in the Boyne Valley.

We so grateful for the beauty and openness and hospitality of Donegal. We have two more nights before we start the journey home.