Four Articles and a Poem

10:46 AM

Weekly, I post four articles that I found significant and a poem accompanied by some comments about what we can learn from them. Our lives are enriched by seeing better. Each week, one article comes from the world of photography, a discipline that is about seeing. Another article comes from the world of technology, hence seeing something of the future. Another article takes up an aspect of our life together, seeing more clearly the other. Another article refers to faith, seeing the unseen. Finally, the weekly post concludes with a poem, because poetry is about seeing words whose arrangement allows us to see anew.

This week has been all Pope Francis, all the time. With windows for reading and a very few other activities, I have been watching and listening to the Pope's visit. It would be very easy to present the full course of this week through the lens of the Holy Father's visit.
  1. Pope Francis Is Not ‘Progressive’—He’s a Priest. While much is made of trying to interpret the message of Pope Francis between the Left and the Right, this article understands that, first and foremost, Pope Francis is a priest. The most beautiful and telling moments of the visit have been Pope Francis' interactions with school children and regular folks, for instance, the bereaved at Ground Zero. This article by Emma Green helps us to see Pope Francis better.
  2. Pope Francis to Release Pop-Rock Album 'Wake Up!' Rather than a photography article, let's look at a new album spotlighted by Rolling Stone. While not a new concept, contemporary music is interspersed with recordings of Pope Francis speaking in various languages. In English, he calls for youth to "Wake up!"
  3. Francis, Rebuild My House – For Philly, The Pope's Ultimate Reboot. In his homily, Pope Francis recounts the wonderful encounter between an adolescent St. Katharine Drexel and Pope Leo XIII. After Katharine recounted a list of woes among this nation's Native American and African-American communities and asking the Pope's intervention, he replied: "What about you?" aware of the challenges to the U.S., the Holy Father invites us here to act. His visit is brief. Tomorrow, when he returns to Rome, our work begins anew.
  4. Pope Francis’ Remarks at Ground Zero–Full Text. I have shed tears at many points during this visit. As one might imagine, I was moved by learning of Sofia Cruz and her message to the Holy Father. Nonetheless, the address in this place, Ground Zero, is very significant for me. It speaks of how death will not have the final word. The Pope invites us all to conversion. 
A brief introduction into Gerard Manley Hopkin's life is the first chapter of  Speak What We Feel: Not What We Ought to Say, by Frederick Buechner. The entire book is worthy of your time. Bueckner, with a biographical-historical approach, analyzes the works of four writers: Hopkins, Mark Twain, G.K. Chesterton, and William Shakespeare. He claims, correctly in my view, that the genius of these four authors arises from a common source: the profound sadness they all experienced in life. As we move from summer to fall, let's see a poem from this Jesuit poet.

"God's Grandeur"
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.

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