God's world is charged with grandeur

Nature speaks to us like nothing else...The calm majesty of this image reminds us that everything good and beautiful comes from God...


Many will recognize in this Ignatian Inspiration a paraphrase of the first line of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

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.

After emphasizing how God actively creates the world, with the word “charged” implying the potency of electrical energy, Hopkins reflect on how damaged our world has become because we have not cooperated with God’s plan. Just when things start looking bleak, however, the poet reminds us that “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things” because God’s Holy Spirit is at work in the world.

It is important not to confuse God’s grandeur with grandiosity. Grandiosity implies showy and lavish pomposity. Grandeur, on the other hand, refers to the beauty and dignity of God’s creation. At the summit of creation, made in the image and likeness of God, we share in the divine beauty and dignity.

Inspirational books related to this topic

The Grandeur of God
By Joe Durepos

A collection of classic readings that give readers a sense of the depth, beauty, and richness of Catholic spiritual writing.