Tag Archives: Joy

Glory be to God….

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

—-Gerard Manley Hopkins



I love Hopkins. He has a poem for every mood I’m in. This is the one now.


Incoherent rejoicings from a caffeinated brain

Studied this in class today… major, major happiness    : – )

Standing ovation kind of happiness.

Dignitatis Humanae:  http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.

In other words… it doesn’t have authority because we said it, but because it is true. And your conscience isn’t important because its hip to talk about that right now–but because it all comes from God. God, the Truth, the still small voice, the wind. Or as my professor put it, “What has authority? Truth. Who is the highest Truth? God. People must seek truth–not through their relationship with governments (e.g. coercive power) but through their relationship with God.”

In other words…its not about us. It never was. It is about God. OK, I’m in final paper writing and this isn’t coherent, but here’s another quote that made me feel like cheering:

The family, since it is a society in its own original right, has the right freely to live its own domestic religious life under the guidance of parents. Parents, moreover, have the right to determine, in accordance with their own religious beliefs, the kind of religious education that their children are to receive. Government, in consequence, must acknowledge the right of parents to make a genuinely free choice of schools and of other means of education…

The Vicar of St Peter understands about homeschooling, about families. I wasn’t expecting this in middle of the document, about what I care most about, so it was a sweet to run into it.

And while I’m rejoicing, here’s the other awesome one:

Humanae Vitae:  http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html


She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.

Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter. It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man.

In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization.

The Church can’t back down, not because they are awesome, but because this teaching is the Truth. This is not an issue of them being ‘above’, this is an issue of them being ‘below’, obedient to something larger than all of us–our own greatness. “This world promises you comfort. You were not made for comfort. You were made for Greatness.”

There is a way of things, and that way of things, as it was meant to be, is beautiful. It is for our own good, all of our good.

Hearing truth spoken clearly, the universe seems to change. It makes the air sweeter (and the stars brighter).

Christian Joy qualitatively the same as Sorrow

This is from a 1944 letter to his son.  Tolkien has just heard a sermon on the healing of Jairus’ daughter and is reflecting on the healing of a young boy Tolkien had witnessed in 1927.

But at the story of the little boy (which is a fully attested fact of course) with its apparent sad ending and then its sudden unhoped-for happy ending, I was deeply moved and had that peculiar emotion we all have–though not often. It is quite unlike any other sensation.

And all of a sudden I realised what it was: the very thing that I have been trying to write about and explain–in that fairy-story essay that I so much wish you had read that I think I shall send it to you. For it I coined the word ‘eucatastrophe’: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce).

And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint has suddenly snapped back. It perceives–if the story has literary ‘truth’–that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made. And I concluded by saying that the Resurrection was the greatest ‘eucatastrophe’ possible in the greatest Fairy Story–and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.

Of course I do not mean that the Gospels tell what is only a fairy-story; but I do mean very strongly that they do tell a fairy-story: the greatest. . . . So that in the Primary Miracle (the Resurrection) and the lesser Christian miracles too though less, you have not only that sudden glimpse of truth behind the apparent ananke of our world, but a glimpse that is actually a ray of light through the very chinks of the universe about us.

–Humphrey Carpenter, ed., The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 100-101

(I reposted from this blog: http://dogmadoxa.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-greatest-fairy-story.html)

Bright Wings

God, Nature, People = beautiful. Pain, yes. And yet….bright wings!

Someone else says it much better than me:

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.

God is beautiful, and People are too

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
 who speaks the truth from his heart;
 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
  and casts no slur on others;
 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change his mind;
 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

journal entry from May

I’m sitting near the open window to the front yard, the sunlight is coming through the leaves of the trees, you can hear their rustling and the call of different birds. There is something of middle earth in these particular ones, their arching branches upward, the uppermost branches and the sky. It is very peaceful here, for now. Its funny how these particular trees bring up so many memories of things I had to think through growing up….the ups and downs of my father’s career and the beauty in Tolkien and fears over salvation and the character of God being truly good and the pleading over ill un-(&new)-born babies and the hope of heaven. All that crying out and churning thoughts staring up at those trees. How God heard it all. How they all came right in the end.

In a way, everything was right all along. God knew, God held my soul and loved me when I was certain of neither, He held all those dear things in his heart I feared I had lost or destroyed, and he sustained one of those children and took the other ones to Himself. It is like He was calmly listening to my rage and falsehood, and smiling at my foolish dramatics, and crying with me too, all at once. I know He was.

There is a good in silence, hallowed too sometimes.