Monday, May 7 — Gerard Manly Hopkins, sj — beauty & courage
This week the university holds three commencements. Graduates, families and friends infuse fresh wonder and pride into these ancient rituals of achievement. Moms and dads, relatives and friends come dressed to the nines as they watch “their graduate” walk, and shake the President’s hand, and receive their diploma from him. Year after year it blows our minds.
St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, encouraged paying attention to the choices that led me to where I am now, and to celebrate those choices. Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, lived this same wisdom. She and her sisters, risked ministering to the brutal poverty of Ireland in the 1800s. Catherine often kept watch at a young sister’s death bed, sharing her grief at dying so young, and recognizing that the one keeping her company was heartbroken too. Catherine “celebrated” these terrible moments with playful jokes and strong tea.
Today’s poem — Hopkin’s morning falcon riding sharp wind currents — may help the reader come close to what commencement’s excitement is all about, —- that is to say, every daring risk students or their faculty take to dare excellence.
Best to read out loud, with pauses.
Have a blest week
Today’s Post – “The Windhover” To Christ our Lord
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,–the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valor and act, oh, air, pride, plume here
Buckle! And the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plốd makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, a my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, sj