Friday, March 10, 2006

St patrick and prophecy

Ah-sure-now and St Patty’s Day is upon us; and the luck of the Irish is with you. Leprechauns are smiling, their crocks are full to the point where their magical gold coins are spilling over. It is true, we leprechauns are conservative folk – but with a bent toward mischievous thoughts; and for some, as believable, as miraculous, as mystical, as real, as any other ancient folklore tale or prophecy.

“Leprechaun”, the meaning, derived from a combination of ancient Latin, Celtic dialect, and a touch of a regional tongue, means little people; what non-Gaelic would call wise elfin folk, with the “gift of gab” that marks them as great conversationalists; if you can find one to talk to.

There are many myths about these wondrous and special elves. The ones I like best speak to their sustaining power, and grand wisdom; which bespeaks of the wisdom of the Irish people. It is said, the “Irish Saved Civilization”. It is certain that they made a significant contribution in that regard, and that a Celtic slave, Patricius – St Patrick to you – contributed greatly to bringing it about.

This year our viewpoint is a millennium thing. In 432, when Patrick landed in Erin, it was a place inhabited by a carefree people of warlike continence, who, by some accounts, drank themselves to sleep out of a hidden abiding fear of death derived from their sense of temporal impermanence.

The Irish lacked a faith which provided hope; they lacked the idea of eternal survival or resurrection – this they received from Patrick’s interpretation of Christianity, which dispelled Irish fears, doused pagan fires to which people were sacrificed.

In return, for providing a faith proclaiming everlasting life, the Irish brought provided a world-view which preserved the record of Western civilization. Irish monks and scribes copied manuscripts of the Greek, Latin, pagan, and any other culture whose works became available.

As the Roman Church conquered Europe and began its prophesied thousand year reign – bringing with it onset of the dark ages, plagues (born of abandonment of scriptural hygiene), witch-hunts and inquisitions – there was a seed of salvation, rebirth eternal, planted on the Emerald Isle.

As this millennium ended, on May 30, 1431, the innocent, Jeanne d’Arc, was consigned to fire – the English returned to ancient custom. In April1432, the Pope granted Dermit Machlosgaid, canon of Derry – son of a priest and a married woman – a life estate as perpetual vicar of Nuatmail, with a third of the associated income. Priestly violation of an oath of celibacy – not unlike today.

Clearly an interesting end to a millennium. In Europe, Germanic barbarians swept away remains of a fallen Roman, until, on Christmas Day in 800CE, Pope Leo III, crowned of Charlemagne Emperor of Roman – creating the “Western Roman Empire” which ended in 1806, with the final dissolution of the Frankish Empire. Another millennium marker to ponder – and two more.

St. Patrick died in 493, just a thousand years before Europe learned that Columbus had set foot in a “New World” – in 776 Caliph al-Mansur, introduces our number system as part of surveying; 1776 leads to its use in 1806 by Lewis and Clark. Revelation 20 – after a Millennium all dead resurrect.

Is there a significant to the year 2012? It has been calculated, all the souls alive today equal all the people who ever lived. Ponder, enjoy, and may the luck of the Irish be, remain, with you.


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