Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charged with the Grandeur of God

In Hopkins arguably most famous poem God's Grandeur (I don't think it's his best one, personally), the opening line reads:

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

Curiously, I began to think about this poem while reading from the philosophy of Karl Marx, who holds religion to be the opiate of the masses. Religion as the ideological skin that humanity must shed if it is to realize its true nature both individually and as a society.

Of course, as a Jesuit, I do not agree with such sentiments. Yet, such sentiments arguably arise because religion can become an all-too-comfortable boys club that is no longer able to bear witness to its true spirit. God becomes a means to an end. The message of the Gospels becomes stripped of its vitality in order to further personal, political agendas. Clothed in religious language lie hearts of pride, selfishness, and greed.

Yet, I do believe that the world is charged with the grandeur of God--a world radiating with the light of Christ. The spirit of the Trinity is found in creation, in each and every one of us. God animates and electrifies the life of this world--past, present, and future. And we are charged with the task to bear witness to the spirit of God within us--a task done at its best with alacrity and joy.

I do not believe that humanity attains its true being when it casts off belief in God. On the contrary, I believe we become alienated from our true selves, selves that ultimately only make sense when we are in relationship with God--God who loves us incredibly, radically, unconditionally. When we bear witness to that true love, we should have no need to defend our actions or our faith. Our actions should speak for themselves.

Despite our sinfulness, I believe there is great good found within all of us. I have seen this and experienced this with my own eyes. If we can recognize this good--this divinely-charged life--within our brothers and sisters and draw out that goodness from within humanity, we are well on our way towards the Kingdom of Heaven, where all the world is embraced with Bright Wings.

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