The Value of Failure

When people wear the green in celebration of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, perhaps they should consider whether the name of this favourite of holidays really should be Patrick.

One could almost argue that it could equally be Palagius Day – the name of a relatively obscure Celtic ascetic who was stirring up a lot of controversy way back around 400 AD.

You see, Palagius was in opposition to Christianity of the day that said we are all born with sin. Palagius took the opposing view. He believed in free will and the ability of each of us to perform our own good works with no need of divine intervention. He also believed in natural law, and the role choice played in setting the law into motion.

Bottom line – as a devote of Science of Mind would say – we are all divine beings and therefore quite capable of creating heaven on earth because we are connected to that greater source by our own nature.
It’s been said that Pelagius was heavily influenced by the natural philosophy of the Druids, and they were quickly gaining ground which was angering Pope Celestine.

So, Celestine sent over one bishop to combat the scourge, and he didn’t make it back alive. Then he turned to St. Patrick.

St. Patrick lived, but fortunately for everyone – he too failed in the ultimate task of eradicating this nature-based philosophy.

Palagius’ ideas continued to survive. But what it says in an even greater way is that Truth is Truth.
The doctrine that we are all divine beings who are innately inspired by the spirit that is within us runs through all faith traditions. What remains unique is the cultural spin that we choose to express that belief. Strip out the doctrine and the dogma and underneath we’re really all the same.

So this year, we can thank St. Patrick for many things – for establishing Irish Law and abolishing slavery, oh, and green beer.

But most of all, we can thank him for allowing the truth to continue – that the power that is available to everyone cannot be extinguished, and as long as we are aware of its nature, we can use it.

Or as St. Patrick had on his own breastplate:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Christ in height,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

And so it is.


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