“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”

Gerard Manley Hopkins (‘God’s Grandeur’)

Monday, 22 June 2020

The great 19th century Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) did not live to see the emergence of environmentalism and a renewed theology of creation. But his poem ‘God’s Grandeur’ presents numerous insights we need today: a sense of the human in a greater landscape, a landscape ultimately bigger than us.

Rightly so! We humans are after all parts of this earth, not – despite our frequent delusions of mastery and ownership – somehow ‘above’ it. The earth is not an inanimate object to be used, but a living organism, an interlinking of life forms from the simplest to the most complex. And all of it from the smallest microparticle to the most powerful person on earth comes from the same basic matter, following the same biological and physical principles.

And in, through and with it: God. The world is charged with God. The world is in God and God in the world. In a very deep sense when seen from that perspective the world is a real, outward and material sign of God’s presence, God’s grace. A sacrament. And we are invited to be part of it.


send your Spirit to teach us to listen To your voice in the song of birds and the roaring wind In the teaching of Christ and in the insights of science In the mystery of sunset and sunrise And in the wisdom of the beasts that share this earth with us.


Fr Anthony Egan SJ

Fr Anthony Egan SJ (born Cape Town 1966; entered the Jesuits 1990; ordained 2002) has taught, full-time or part-time, at St Augustine College of South Africa, St John Vianney Seminary, Fordham University (on sabbatical) and the University of the Witwatersrand. The author/co-author of a number of books, book chapters, academic and popular articles, he is a correspondent for America magazine, a contributor to Worldwide and writes for spotlight.africa. He is also a commentator on local and international radio and television. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Helen Suzman Foundation. Extramural interests include Science Fiction, Theatre, Art and creative writing, including poetry.

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