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The religious meaning behind this popular Irish blessing

Dziewczyna stoi na klifie na wybrzeżu Irlandii

Piotr Orlinski | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/02/23

This is probably one of the most beautiful blessings shared widely in the Emerald Isle and beyond.

One of the many beautiful things that come from Ireland is the collection of blessings and sayings that have been shared among the Celts for centuries. And you’ll probably know one of the most popular blessings — or at least its first line — for its poetic and prayer-like quality.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

Like so many of these familiar Irish sayings, its exact origins are unknown. However, it is full of religious connotations that demonstrate the role of God in making your day a little brighter. As Irish Central points out, the short prayer leans on the elements that have strong religious symbolism to make it more meaningful.

The wind that is mentioned is believed to represent the Holy Spirit who “came as a ‘mighty wind’ at Pentecost,” whereas the warmth that is desired to “warm your face” reflects God’s mercy as seen in Luke 1:78-79:

because of the tender mercy of our God
by which the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Finally, the rain is in keeping with the belief that God will always provide for us through the crops that rely on a regular downpour. Although Ireland has an abundance of rain, those showers — and storms — are seen as a true blessing in providing a rich harvest.

While the blessing might be centuries old, there is something particularly touching about it, and relevant for today. Not only does it remind us of the simplicity and joy to be had from nature, but also that among all the chaos of everyday life, God is omnipresent with that slight gust of wind, the few drops of rain, and the sun’s glow that makes everything all right.

So take a little inspiration from our Gaelic brothers and sisters, and don’t forget to share this beautiful blessing with loved ones.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleFaithIreland
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