Tags

, , , , ,

Happy St Patricks Day everyone.. Its an important day for everyone in Britain to reflect and take stock.. St Patrick probably came from Dumbarton on the Clyde, not far from the Castle of the Muses.. which in those days was Welsh speaking (meaning St Patrick was actually Welsh or Cymric). He was forcibly taken  to Ireland as a slave, then escaped, and later went back as a Christian teacher and saint and managed, totally non-violently, to get the majority of Irish Druids and ordinary people, to accept Christ as “one of them” since the Christ of the Gospels was so like the Druids themselves in spirit and purpose and nature. The great Druid colleges and academies slowly became the great monastic schools of Ireland and their famed love of learning flourished for centuries, until Cromwell’s invasion finally saw the destruction of their precious libraries and manuscript collections. Not until, however, great Irish scholars had managed to escape abroad with manuscripts and summaries of the ancient histories of pagan and Christian Ireland, and not before Geoffrey Keating managed to write up the sacred history of ancient Ireland from the beginning to the middle ages, recounting the story of the coming of the various peoples in Ireland, and the various magical stories and adventures which transpired. St Patrick’s form of Christianity allowed this ancient learning to continue and later, St Columba brought this tolerant and wise kind of Christianity back to Scotland via Iona. Patrick Joyce wrote an amazing two volume work called the Social History of Ancient Ireland detailing the complex structures of becoming a Druid in ancient Ireland, the long years of study it took, and how it eventually was absorbed into the degrees of academic learning in the Christian monastic and academic context. Most of this precious history, and its full complexity, have been hidden from the average English person for centuries, and indeed it was forbidden for many years to teach or study about it, and the Irish Gaelic speaking scholars were forced to teach in “hedge schools”, largely in secret. St Patrick however, and St Columba, and these other great figures, were not afraid of true learning or wisdom, and their love of Christ came about because they saw in Christ an exemplar of the highest form of wisdom that we humans can aspire to. The question we should perhaps all ask on this day of St Patrick is: are we, as a country, as a people, in the UK and Ireland, and wherever there are people of wholly or partly Irish or British descent, living up to the heritage of wisdom we have been given ? In our fighting and wars, between catholic or protestant Christians, in the so called times of troubles, have we been manifesting the Divine Image which Christ and the traditions of the Judaeo-Christian give us in their teachings, as best we can ? How can we help advance peace on our islands, so that instead of people boasting they have now found “a new source of semtex” we might instead prefer to be boasting that we have found a new source of enlightenment for the people, a new source of hope, a new source of understanding ? This is the work that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Britain and Ireland is committed to, and to that end it pledges it continued witness. Nor does this affect simply Ireland. It affects the whole of the British Isles, since Patrick belongs to both islands. Thus we should reflect on other struggles, more recent, when people have been abused by those in power, as this shocking story, about police brutality, in our own days, during the miners strike in 1984 (http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-da10-Open-wounds-of-the-past#.UyeLs6h_uGA – the aims of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign seem very compatible with those of the TRCBI).  The purpose of the TRCBI is indeed to highlight the search for justice in all British or Irish cases where violence or abuse has been hushed up, and where an honest telling and apology and reparation can perhaps in some small way heal the wounds of the past. Just as Christ himself didn’t demand violent retribution, nor did the druids of Britain and Ireland –, but we do ask for knowledge, remembering, awareness, and the moral duty of those who have committed wrongs in the past, to desist and henceforth to walk in truth and light. Is it too much to ask ? Not once the inner eye of conscience is awakened. Happy St Patrick’s day everyone…