Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 25, 2009

Exploring God's Grandeur

In the beginning of the Lenten springtime encourage your students to reflect on the classic poem of Jesuit Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur."

God’s Grandeur
By 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 wreck 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.

Journal Questions
1. In the poem, what is the failure of humans?
2. According to the poem, what do people fail to comprehend about nature?
3. How does Hopkin's praise of nature relate to the praise of God?

Watch the following readings of "God's Grandeur." Then interpret the reading for yourself. Share your own unique reading of the poem with the class.



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