Through my silent retreats and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I was introduced to the writings of a Jesuit poet named Gerard Manley Hopkins. Fr.Hopkins (1844-1889) was born into an Anglican family, but later converted to Catholicism and later entered the Society of Jesus.
As I was out walking today, I realized that the heavy scent of all the neighborhood lilac bushes has started to fade. For about two weeks, the beautiful fragrance was almost overpowering. Those of us with sinus problems had a time of it. I suffer from all the pollen during these days, but I am open to getting a headache over breathing in all the spring scents.
Well, this transition of the lilacs made me remember one of Hopkins’ most famous poems entitled God’s Grandeur. The poem is a reminder that nature is constantly changing, that God is moving, watching over all, looking around to see what’s blooming next, wondering where the next rainbow will appear.
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:
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
All, for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last nights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward,
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright
It is exciting to see what tomorrow will bring in this ever-changing rhythm of nature. What scents will we smell? Will we recognize it is all a Gift?