Catholic Prayer: Irish Religious Expressions
Here are many Irish sayings that we might revive in our families in order to restore the spiritual to our homes.
The external expressions of the faith in an Irish home are seen best in the sayings that characterize every conversation. The simple expressions, "Thank God," "With God's help," and "God bless you," are continually on everybody's lips. On entering a home one always says, "The blessing of God on you all," or "God save all here."
Many of the sayings really lose their flavor in being translated from the Gaelic, but I will give a few more examples.
When there are worries about paying the debts, the expression that is used is, "The help of God is nearer than the door." In providing for a large family the people say, "God never created a mouth that He did not provide it with food." On seeing the first fruits of the season one would say, "May God bless this year." After the people of a community would finish the cooperative packing of butter, the parting word to each other is, "May God increase your milk and butter."
The simplest actions are made an occasion of prayer. When the lights are turned on there is the appropriate prayer, "May God give the light of Heaven to our souls."
In a country so full of sorrow there has always been an abundance of sayings to express the resignation to the will of God that is to be found in a truly Catholic soul.
There was always, too, a sensitiveness to the common sharing of suffering. On hearing of a tragedy one would say, "May God save those who hear or tell of it."
When leaving a home after a visit one would usually say, "May you have good news from God and from over the sea." That last phrase is a reminder of something that loomed large in every Irish family, the leaving of Ireland by so many sons and daughters because of the poor economic conditions.Prayer Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994