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  1. Bright Wings, Dappled Things: Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ & Photographs by Fr Browne SJ
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  4. Dappled Thing

Requires iOS Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. App Store Preview. This app is only available on the App Store for iOS devices. Screenshots iPhone iPad. Description Dappled Things is a quarterly journal of ideas, art, and faith.

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Jun 8, Version 6. Size Category Books. Compatibility Requires iOS Languages English. Price Free.

Bright Wings, Dappled Things: Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ & Photographs by Fr Browne SJ

App Support Privacy Policy. If the "deep down things" are insulated from us by layers of false stories, by our own painful experiences, or by misbegotten malformations, still the drive to know the truth of things can drive us toward dim lights that, once the door is flung wide, turn out to be the light of the sun. The one we long for laughs and disappears over the next hill, not to escape, but to beckon us on to further adventures.

This atmosphere of grace redeems. We breathe an air of transformation, not only when we tumble into unexpected radiance, but also when we relax into the final meditative silence of the passage we call death. In his poem "God's Grandeur," Hopkins wrote about this radiance:. What startles in nature comes from the same source that created both sunrise and sunset. It is no puzzle worked through systematically in the way we find solutions in the laboratory. Instead, it is a fully felt discovery by a prayer—shaped imagination encountering the mystery that resides in the deep parts of reality, demanding not the contained register of a cool and systematic mind, but rather an ecstatic breaking out of homey ignorance into the strangeness of beauty.

This disorients us until we see that the landscape is closer to home than anything we have known in the grey mist of the local weather, where we tuck our heads under umbrellas and squint our eyes. We suspect that we are made for more, and that the ache in our backs and shoulders is not due to overexertion on the way, but to a constriction of wings that we become aware of through the presence of a peculiar pain. The pain, to put it differently, is a pain of disjunction between the way we currently act in the world and the truth of what we are meant to be and to become.

The experience— the urge and urgency—of being a creature that is always, always, always becoming is a kind of ecstasy. But there is also a pathos in always being on the way, especially when the end toward which we are moving is obscured, leaving us with a vision of our own nature and situation that is partial, incomplete, and sometimes lonely.


This is a kind of sadness, where sadness is a placeholder for a feeling that might be called anxiety, dread, depression, ennui, or even madness. The experiences of ecstasy and madness are not mutually exclusive, if only because they often both occur in the same soul. The ecstasy of erotic love can lead to the birth of another person, while the wave of madness can lead to someone's death. Though the erotic is enlivening, and though sadness is illuminating, both have been subjected to the cures and consolations of philosophy for millennia. But those who have known passionate love or grief know that more is needed if we are ever to be truly consoled.

In liturgy we pray for peace.

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  • If there is to be any peace on earth, it must be a peace among discordant elements, a peace of contrasts. But because the unity of God is singular and not susceptible to imitation, the inscape of anything that is created is beautiful in itself—it will be dappled, it will be couple—coloured. If we want to experience things as gifts, we must learn to see in a way that does not rush to impose a false unity by dissolving things into the manageable abstractions of generalized laws and concepts.

    The impulse to abstraction is understandable, with a laudable and revealing aim, and it can be motivated by an impulse toward worship. But beauty, truth, and goodness show up concretely in the world. The inscape and instress of radiant things reveals a Creator who sustains creation through unfathomably intimate presence, while being utterly and unfathomably different from creation. This beautiful, but difficult, concept of God's relationship to creation is expressed in the idea of the analogia entis , which was so important to Hopkins.

    Nature is a language that speaks the unspeakable through its radiant forms. Hopkins answered with a language of his own in his poems, as he journeyed toward the mystery of God, a Creator who does not merely dwell beyond the things, but who lights up creation from inside. For Hopkins, there was no clear line between natural and supernatural perception of the Creator and creation.

    In either case, the love of God is the only answer to disorientation. Hopkins showed us how the converted imagination can relearn to see the source and sustainer of all created things through the things themselves, lit by an internal light. This is true for the highest celestial object, but it is also true for the face of the frightened patient I will go see soon after I finish this sentence.

    One measure of the value of Hopkins's insights and example is the growth our own ability to see "the dearest freshness of deep down things," by which he most certainly means the dearest freshness in the eyes of the next patient I see. If this matters—and it does—it must matter concretely, now, as I finish this essay, sitting in the pediatric bone marrow transplant unit, on a Saturday, ready to care for sick patients through the night.

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    Burnout is nowhere on the horizon. For this old friend of mine, and for his astonishing way of seeing creation, which I am still trying to grasp, I am deeply grateful. Raymond C. He is a pediatric oncologist and palliative care physician with an interest in expanding the role of the humanities in the formation of physicians.

    The last four-and-a-half lines reverse this movement, beginning with the characteristics of things in the world and then tracing them back to a final affirmation of God. The delay of the verb in this extended sentence makes this return all the more satisfying when it comes; the long and list-like predicate, which captures the multiplicity of the created world, at last yields in the penultimate line to a striking verb of creation fathers-forth and then leads us to acknowledge an absolute subject, God the Creator.

    Dappled Thing

    The poem is thus a hymn of creation, praising God by praising the created world. It expresses the theological position that the great variety in the natural world is a testimony to the perfect unity of God and the infinitude of His creative power. In the context of a Victorian age that valued uniformity, efficiency, and standardization, this theological notion takes on a tone of protest. The first stanza would lead the reader to believe that their significance is an aesthetic one: In showing how contrasts and juxtapositions increase the richness of our surroundings, Hopkins describes variations in color and texture—of the sensory.

    Though the description is still physical, the idea of a nugget of goodness imprisoned within a hard exterior invites a consideration of essential value in a way that the speckles on a cow, for example, do not.