Friday, November 04, 2005


It is fascinating that Balthasar devotes a whole chapter to Gerard Manley Hopkins, as one of his stars in the constellation of theologies.

Hopkins spies God in a seeing of Beauty. The created world reveals God's Truth, God's Goodness, God's Beauty--God's very being by showing forth God's Beauty. Hopkins' "God's Grandeur" sings of God's glory in Creation, Man's fallen nature, and salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost. The concision and crunch of the words forces us to pay attention to it, as if (as if!?!) the poet were talking, singing about real things that matter. This is a vision more true, more real than mere materialism, naturalism, cynicism, or even political ideology.

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.

The whole Easter Vigil shows itself in this poem!

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