The Celtic Carmelites live in the tradition of the ancient Celtic Church prior to Roman domination of the British Isles; additionally, we live in the "active/contemplative" spirit of the early Carmelite Brothers and Sisters. To know Jesus is to share Jesus in word and deed. To get to know Jesus requires solitude and intimacy with Him - through reading Sacred Scripture, living a gospel-centered life, participating in the Sacraments, and in contemplation of our Lord in the recesses of our hearts. We seek to share our rich history with others, and, through the Holy Trinity, we endeavor to help heal a very disconnected world.
From the time of Christ through the fourth century, the ancient Celtic Christian communities were isolated from the European influences of power and politics, and therefore enjoyed a love of the Gospel without an agenda. In Celtic theology, the fall of Adam and Eve represented a veil cast between mankind and God, and the consequences described in Genesis 3:14-19 included a spiritual death which could only be restored through the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
If one reads the Old Testament without denominational prejudice, it is plain to see even from the time of Cain and Abel God maintained an active, Fatherly relationship with man and creation. in fact, it was God Himself who first shed blood in order to clothe Adam and Eve after their fall. From the beginning we get a glimpse of the Father's great love for us. Yet this relationship was marred by the pride of mankind who sought to keep the throne of the heart occupied with striving to be "little gods" - being self-reliant and avoiding resting on the shoulder of their Eternal Father.
Early Celts were enamored with the spiritual realm, which set a fertile field for the first Christian missionaries to explain the Gospel message of Christ's perfect life, death, and resurrection to restore intimacy between God and man through relationship with the Holy Trinity. The Celtic Christians married their love for nature with the One who created it and saw no reason to separate what God had joined together. We could liken the relationship to a lover giving his beloved a bouquet of roses. Rather than dismissing the flowers as objects, the recipient looks fondly at the roses and is constantly reminded of the great love of the giver of the gift. The God of the Bible is constantly referred to as "Father" by Jesus, and he teaches us to view the Creator of Creation in the same manner, as a beloved, full to overflowing lover of our souls.
The Celtic Christian communities enjoyed an equality between men and women unheard of on the European continent, a love and respect for nature as a gift from God and a means to know Him more intimately. In regard to "original sin," the Celtic Christian knew that Christ saved them from themselves and their inevitable attraction to rebellion. A great analogy would be to see a baby and believe you are looking into the face of the divine. In a few years, you could look at the same child and know he needed a Savior. "Original Sin" was a term used by Saint Augustine of Hippo who built a theology of mankind's depravity around it. This is where the beauty of the English Channel saved the Celts from seeing themselves as morally dead creations of a wrathful God.
Pelagius, the Celtic counterpart to Augustine, had a theology that mankind was born "very good" (remember God's declaration in Genesis) and at the same time to have a strong propensity towards doing evil. Pelagius believed that theoretically, everyone had the ability to live a perfect life, otherwise Jesus would not have said, "be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). Pelagius contended that Jesus would not encourage us on a fool's mission. Inevitably, we all come short of God's standards and need a Savior as a propitiation (substitute) for our sins, and that is where the Son of God who loves us and gave his life for us took up the Cross, was crucified, died, and was resurrected to tear the veil separating us from our intimacy with the Holy Trinity. Through this great sacrifice, we have the opportunity to enjoy the love of God without reservation - as little children excited to be with their Father, Brother, and Lover of their souls.
In summary, the Celtic Christians had an unmatched devotion to the saving work of Christ on the cross. They simply believed that the world needed saving because of the propensity of mankind to choose evil over Godly desires. The sacrifice of Jesus both to become a human being, to live a sinless and perfect life, and to suffer as the Lamb for of our sins was a work completed at the cross when Jesus uttered, "It is finished!" (John, 19:30). At the Resurrection, our Savior proved He had conquered death and restored mankind to fellowship with the Trinity. It is our joy as Christians to bring the Kingdom of God to fruition in the here and now, in the hearts and minds of all people.