Saturday, August 30, 2014

Deep down things

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.  All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me.
Jeremiah was not a cheerful fellow, if we must decide on the basis of his book.  This is one of the great lines of Holy Scripture.  It can make us laugh, if we approach it in a certain way – such as when my Church History professor, a Dominican priest, said that his ordination class had chosen it to be their motto.  On the other hand, it can make us wag our heads in uncomfortable recognition.
But if it is the case that I carom between these two readings of that line, I also recognize all too well the sentiment, and more, that he presents a few lines later:  I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak in his name no more.  But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.
That explains how I get myself into trouble, especially in this time and place, doesn’t it?  Or at least how I get you into trouble – the trouble of enduring my latest take on life, the universe, and everything.  But I shan’t throw too much at you this week; you’ve had enough of dates and anniversaries and historical milestones. 
A word from Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, seems appropriate.  He could have seconded Jeremiah in either of the above sentiments.  But he also has something more to add as our summer days dwindle and we set our faces to the task ahead.  It is, after all, still August.  Enjoy.
 Monsignor Smith

God’s Grandeur
Gerard Manley Hopkins

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.

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