Tag Archives: unpleasant

Worship Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 24, 2017

worship word cloud

Worship Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Fr. Hopkins was born in England, studied at Oxford, and converted to Catholicism. He became a Jesuit priest, serving as teacher, scholar, preacher and administrator. He was also a poet, and wrote to document and celebrate God’s glories in nature.

Two short poems are included in this excerpt. In the first, Fr. Hopkins talks of grandeur at the beginning: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” “Shining,” “flame out,” “greatness.” This is Hopkins’ starting point. However, things soon get messed up from there. Sadly, “seared…bleared, smeared” come next in the downward procession. “Smudge“ and “smell” are certainly unpleasant words and thoughts.

What kinds of things do these two overarching images mean to you? The first, pleasant and even wondrous. The second word? Irritating, perhaps even weary, come to mind. The poem makes me think of the height, length and breadth of the night sky: showing a number of different kinds of emotions.

And, the complete stanza:
“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.” [1]


Dear Lord, gracious God, praise to your name. My words are so paltry and poor, they can barely stand on the same page with Fr. Hopkins and his words of grandeur and power. Thank You for poets who write so beautifully. Amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 266.

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 8, 2015

don't let yesterday use up today

Facing My Mistakes, and Learning

Ah, how difficult it is to face my mistakes! But, what if I sweep my mistakes under the rug, or minimize them, or even pretend they didn’t even happen? That is the sure way to unhappiness. A definite way to unmanageability, too.

If, as the daily meditation (from Keep It Simple) for today reads, I run from my mistakes and try my darnedest to avoid them, they will follow me. [1] However, if I am able to face my personal mistakes, all to the good! (That includes my fear for an awkward or downright unpleasant mistake at work, or with my family, or an acquaintance. Just to mention a few situations, of course.)

The reading today points out that “Native American culture teaches us that all mistakes in life are gifts. The gift is that we are all given a chance to learn.” [2] Yes, I can find lessons in practically every mistake I ever made. Isn’t hindsight called twenty/twenty?

Yes, I can ask my Higher Power for help. I can pray to God as I understand God for the knowledge and wisdom to acknowledge my mistakes, not to cover them up. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my humble prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 8 reading.

[2] Ibid.

I Want What I Want When I Want It

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, February 15, 2014

knows you and loves you

I Want What I Want When I Want It

I sometimes have difficulty settling down to prayer. I mean, real, earnest prayer, as uninterrupted as I can make it. Sometimes my mind flits about, from one topic to another to yet another. And that’s all in about three seconds. This has been happening more lately, and I suspect it’s due to having so many things on my mind. However, I have been consistently coming to God. Pretty consistently, anyhow.

Recently, when I was praying in the morning as I customarily do, my mind and my attention began doing the same thing, flitting around. Hop, skip and jumping all over the place. But then, I started thinking about what I wanted. What I needed. I continued in this vein for some seconds, and then I drew myself up short.

Wait a moment! I drew back, mentally, and reconsidered how I was expressing myself in prayer. “I want! I want! I want!” It seemed like that was most of what was coming out of my mouth that morning. Isn’t that the request that most people have in hand, when they come to you? Goodness, I should think that might get pretty whiny, even unpleasant. And then, I turn right around and ask—no, beg is the appropriate word. I am afraid I am also guilty of praying like this, from time to time.

What about when people want things they shouldn’t have? Or, in a related way, what if people ask for things that are wildly inappropriate?

Take my daughter, for example. (It’s been several years since she graduated from college, just to let people know how long ago this was.) Years ago when she was a preschooler, she very much wanted a pony for Christmas. Her father and I lived in an apartment in Chicago at the time, finances were very tight, and a pony was absolutely, positively out of the question. But, how could I tell my young daughter that? How could I give her the very adult, reasonable, matter-of-fact reasons why she wouldn’t be receiving a pony for Christmas?

She was so earnest, so sincere in her child’s-desire for a pony! I knew I had to do something, since her strong desire was lasting for days and days. Eventually, I got up the courage to tell her that there was no way she could receive that pony. I had to be the loving but firm parent, telling her that she would not get her heart’s desire.

God, how often do You have to be the loving but firm Parent, letting me down easy? Telling me in loving but firm manner that I am not receiving a “pony” for Christmas, either. (Whatever the “pony” in my life happens to be.) Thanks for loving me, no matter what.

Let’s pray. God, Your ears are always open, Your arms always widespread. Help me align my will with Yours. Thank You for helping me find innovative ways to approach You in prayer. Thanks for being my loving, heavenly Parent. I appreciate and love You, too! Amen.