"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, October 1, 2010

Poetic Worship

Poetically challenged. That describes me perfectly. Unless it has the lilt of a nursery rhyme, I've never been able to read it well, understand it, or certainly not write it. But Wednesday morning, I came across two poems in my early morning reading that spoke to me in a way uncommon to my poetic ability -- or lack thereof. So much so, that I returned yesterday morning to it and then again this morning.

Both poems were written by Gerard Manley Hopkins who was born in 1844 in Essex into a High Anglican family but later converted to Roman Catholicism when in college. He became a member of the Society of Jesus -- known at the Jesuits, where he involved himself in a life of intense prayer and spiritual discipline. Much to the world's loss, Hopkins died at a young age in 1889 of typhoid, but not before, as my friend Len related to me, he "destroyed a lot of his writings as proof of his 'commitment' to the Catholic church." How sad.

Personally, I'm so grateful these two made the cut. Read them out loud ... and worship.


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscapes plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and plough;
All all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Now couple that with a heavy dose of Psalm 84 and it just doesn't get much better.

Just an ordinary moment...

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