Saturday, November 13, 2010
G.M. Hopkins on Faith & Writing
When a man has given himself to God's service, when he has denied himself and followed Christ, he has fitted himself to receive and does receive from God a special guidance, a more particular providence.
This guidance is conveyed partly by the action of other men, as his appointed superiors, and partly by direct lights and inspirations. If I wait for such guidance, through whatever channel conveyed, about anything, about my poetry for instance, I do more wisely in every way than if I try to serve my own seeming interests in the matter.
Now if you value what I write, if I do myself, much more does our Lord. And if he chooses to avail himself of what I leave at his disposal he can do so with a felicity and with a success which I could never command. And if he does not, then two things follow; one that the reward I shall nevertheless receive from him will be all the greater; the other that then I shall know how much a thing contrary to his will and even to my own best interests I should have done if I had taken things into my own hands and forced on publication.
This is my principle and this in the main has been my practice: leading the sort of life I do here it seems easy, but when mixes with the world and meets on every side its secret solicitations, to live by faith is harder, is very hard; nevertheless, by God's help I shall always do so.
~Excerpt from a letter to R.W. Dixon, 1 December 1881
Recommended listening: Jeremy Northam's expressive readings of Hopkins' poems. Also available in MP3 format.