Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fuzzy in the brain

I have a major cold. Ever since last year, I seem to be ill every two or three weeks.
I had to take the day off today.

Anyways, this is my new blog. Welcome.

The purpose of this post was to talk about Gerard Manley Hopkins. I am taking a Hopkins seminar, and it has been one of the most intense and personally challenging classes in my university experience. Last night our professor (who is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE) had all eight of us over to his house for supper and class. He cooked us a pork roast on the rotisserie and his wife made wild rice salad and mashed potatoes with fresh dill and caramel-apple crunch pie. We sat around drinking tea and wine and talking about Hopkins' love for Heraclitus and the other ancient philososphers. I was in heaven.

As a Catholic, my love for my faith is rooted in its intensity. Such a faith allows me to be intense myself; passionate, creative, idealistic, full of hope and painfully human. But my idea of this intensity cannot hold a candle to Hopkins'.

I have had a more volatile relationship with this poet than I have ever had with any writer. Apparently I am not alone. A classmate has described his experience of this poet as a roller-coaster ride that plummets and soars between love and hate. I have only ever felt this way a few times in my life.

Among other things, this dialogue with Hopkins has raised a personal challenge in my life. I believed before that there are times when God throws something or someone in one's path to stir the pot and catalyze something--whether it be a drastic re-dedication of one's life or a simple mood alteration--, but now I am sure. My experience of Hopkins seems to call for both a re-dedication and a mood change.

Or perhaps I am feeling melodramatic this semester.

But what we have not done yet we can do now, what we have done badly hitherto we can do well henceforward, we can repent our sins and BEGIN TO GIVE GOD GLORY. The moment we do this we reach the end of our being, we do and are what we were made for, we make it worth God's while to have created us [. . .]. This is something to live for. Then make haste so to live.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins, from An Address on the 'Spiritual Exercises' of St. Ignatius Loyola


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