Saints and Scholars

Ireland has long been known as the land of Saints and Scholars. Generally speaking, we think of Christian Saints like Saint Brendan and fairly recent writers such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. But the tradition goes back much further, to pre-Christian societies and to the dawning of Celtic Christianity with Saint Patrick. For anyone interested in the intricacies of this fertile history, Lawrence Taylor’s book ‘Occasions of Faith’ is quite gripping. But it was during Saint Patrick’s weekend that a television programme caught my eye and proved well worth the watch.

It was a documentary on the life and work of the illustrious Saint Himself. Not only was Patrick, as a Roman citizen born in Britain, an unlikely candidate for Irish sainthood, he was also pretty maverick in his teachings and practises, once he actually managed to get the established Christian authorities to accept and train him as a monk.

His scholarship is legendary due to the prolific writings and reflections he left in his wake, indeed we are told by some of the many experts interviewed for the programme that Irish monastic scholarship was the main promoter of the written word in early medieval Europe.

Yet at the core of Patrick’s work lay the welfare of the people, both economic and spiritual, and his lack of gender discrimination in recruiting followers was also truly ahead of his time!

Through his earlier cultural immersion, Patrick was able to relate to the native Irish on their own terms and with due respect to their existing cosmologies and deities. By dint of that familiarity, especially with the practice of gift-giving and respectful gestures towards the chieftains, he was accepted, listened to and ultimately followed by the people who were his onetime enslavers.

Most striking however is the evident epiphany, almost ‘enlightenment’ experience he had as an isolated and lonely young slave who developed a mystical connection with God through daily connections with nature and meditative prayer, that resulted in prescient and directive dreams and visions. These experiences gave him a deep and intense meaning and mission in life, to bring his mystical form of Christianity to the Irish.

While not adhering personally to a specific religious tradition, I recognise the mystic as the embodiment of true spirituality common to all truth-seekers’ attempts to connect with the divine. I am minded of Jung’s concept of the hero’s journey which he saw as a potential in every human who is prepared to allow the unconscious to erupt. The programme can be viewed in several parts on youtube, the first instalment at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=Lu1DQx4tUSQ

Advertisements

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeanraffa
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 13:58:47

    I’m enjoying your blog very much, with its fascinating information—especially as it so often has a connection to psycho-spiritual matters—and the links to music, books, and programs. It makes for a very pleasant morning read with my coffee!

    Like

    Reply

    • Roberta McDonnell
      Jun 26, 2012 @ 15:07:48

      Oh thanks Jean, delighted you’re enjoying it! Yes, I find everything seems to spark off a psycho-spiritual link these days. I think it must be all the inspirational material I’m coming across, including your blog posts too- love to see them dropping into my inbox 🙂

      Like

      Reply

  2. Ashley
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 13:09:51

    This is a message to the webmaster. I came to your “Saints and Scholars Subliminal Spaces” page via Google but it was difficult to find as you were not on the front page of search results. I see you could have more traffic because there are not many comments on your site yet. I have found a website which offers to dramatically increase your rankings and traffic to your website: http://www.linklegends.com/7-day-free-trial I managed to get close to 1000 visitors/day using their services, you could also get lot more targeted traffic from search engines than you have now. Their free trial and brought significantly more visitors to my website. Hope this helps 🙂 Take care.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Michael Ehrhardt

Permanenter Ausstellungsraum

Religious Naturalism

A religious worldview grounded in the sciences, the humanities, and the arts

Recover Life

My Journey Through Eating Disorder Recovery

iannathanblog

Opinions my own. Films other peoples.

800 Recovery Hub Blog

Written by people in recovery for people in recovery

Aston kamunde

Embrace your unrestricted nature and surrender your soul to the power of the invincible…

Deadline

Hollywood Entertainment Breaking News

A New Ulster

A literary and social awareness blog by the the editor of A New Ulster

mlewisredford

almost indefatigable and quietly militant naïveté ...

anseo

inken thought

The Poetry Practice

Just another WordPress.com site

Poetic mind

Pen down your words in lines and rhymes

Sara in LaLaLand

Welcome to my world.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Kate Fox. Stand-Up Poet. Writer. Comedian. Performer. Researcher. Facilitator. Lecturer.

Also practice-based researcher, but that's enough labels for now...

Candia Comes Clean

Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder

Gulara Vincent

Gain Momentum. Write. Share Your Burning Message.

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

Bloom

"Late" According to Whom?

Awaiting the Muse

The Life of a Writer: Composed of waiting as much as writing.

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

David Smith

Charity, Leadership, Change, Strategy, Mental Health

Tony Macaulay

Northern Ireland Author and Peace Builder

Scriptangel's Blog

Screenwriting for film & television

Sotet Angyal

...a few words from the Dark Angel

Gemma Gladstone - Therapeutic Writer

Therapeutic Writer in Channel 4's JON RICHARDSON: A LITTLE BIT OCD documentary, channelling my re-writing and proofreading compulsions into supernatural fiction

psychonoclast's Blog

Mental Health, the NHS, Clinical Psychology and such

SongBirdSignBird

the ecology and poetry of wild birds

Transition Now by Kim Martindale

my journey to health, resilience and sustainable living

Against the Grain

My Journey Back to Health

TechCrunch

Startup and Technology News

Breathe Underwater

Depression and ways to manage thriving with it.

melaniemolecom.wordpress.com/

Mad About Writing and Books

AJGriffiths

An insight into a writers world and work.

THE SENTIENT REVIEW

a magazine exploring community in the digital age

Colourfulcanvas

In Love With All Colours Of Life...

Orion Bright Star

" Love is the vibration of all Healing "

roads bel travelled

Exploring open roads without breaking the bank

Laura's Photos

Minnesota nature and photography

Alex Korb, PhD

Neuroscience consultant and executive coach.

%d bloggers like this: