Ireland’s flag flies from the fence of my next door neighbor.
[regarding the construction Columcille’s House
(Columcille = Columba) in the town of Kells, Ireland, built 11th century. This is where the Book of Kells originated.]
“They didn’t have time to do poor work.” He was talking about the modern inversion of production standards – the prevalent assumption that we haven’t time, or can’t afford, to work well. But, of course, nobody ever has time or can ever afford to do poor work; that poor work is affordable is an illusion created by the industrial economy. If bad work is done, a high price must be paid for it; all “the economy” can do is forward the bill to a later generation — and, in the process, make it payable in suffering.
But the real genius of a country, though it may indeed fructify in great individual geniuses, is in the fine abilities – in the minds, eyes, and hands – of tens of thousands of ordinary workers. Peter called this “the genius of genus.” Columcille’s House was not, like a monument of modern architecture, the work only of one individual genius but grew out of many miles of stone walls around little fields and out of many cottages.
Thus, coming to Ireland has reminded me again how long, complex, and deep must be the origins of the best work of any kind.
~ Wendell Berry, Irish Journal
essay, included in Home Economics
* * * * *
And not seldom, after the manner of the apostle Paul, he toiled with manual labor, fishing and tilling the ground; but chiefly in building churches, to the which employment he much urged his disciples, both by exhortation and example.
~ The Life and Acts of Saint Patrick by Jocelin – found in the post The Toiling and Tilling of St. Patrick, by PoiemaPortfolio, a blog I highly value reading. Thanks, Poiema!
* * * * *
If you have never read through (or sung!) St. Patrick’s Breastplate, also called by its Latin name, Lorica, you have missed a mighty anthem. On those mornings when despair wants to claim victory, when bleak doesn’t begin to describe your outlook – on those mornings, these are words to strengthen and cheer you.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Put on The Chieftains, boil some cabbage, cook up some corned beef, dance a jig, say a prayer of thanks for the gift of this man to our world, and do good work today.