Posted by: fvbcdm | April 13, 2012

Easter Thursday (12 April 2012)

 Father Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest and poet.  He was born in England in 1844; ordained to the prieshood in 1877, and then died at the very young age of 45 in 1889 of typhoid fever after only twelve years of priesthood. Yet within that short space of time, he has gifted us with an extremely rich legacy of poetry and thought.  

One of his poems is called simply “Easter.”  I would like to read to you today two of the five stanzas of that poem since they might give you some new ideas of this beautiful season in which we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord.

 One of those stanzas says this:

           Gather gladness from the skies;

          Take a lesson from the ground;

          Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes

          And a springtime joy have found;

          Earth throws winter’s robes away,

          Decks herself for Easter Day.

 And the other:

             Seek God’s house in happy throng;

            Crowded let his table be;

            Mingle praises, prayer, and song,

            Singing to the Trinity.

            Henceforth let your souls alway

            Make each morn an Easter Day.

It is interesting that Father Hopkins sees the beauty of spring as our world’s response to the resurrection of Our Divine Savior. This brings me to remember that once, the Trappist author Thomas Merton pointed out that south of the equator, Easter is not in the spring but rather in the fall, and therefore loses some of the beauty of springtime.  He pointed out that if the contemplative life (like his own Trappist life) is going to exult in the glory of springtime during the glory of Eastertime, then the Church should seriously consider reversing her calendar in the southern hemisphere so that Easter would fall in September or October, and the other parts of the liturgical year be arranged accordingly.

Be that as it may, our springtime and Easter coincide, and this beautiful world of ours offers to the risen Lord her lilies and roses and azaleas and camellias—the prayers of the vegetative world, as our acts of faith and hope and love, and our Masses and rosaries are the flowers of our devotional world.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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