March 16, 2011

Quotable: In This House of Brede (4)

If a place has been filled with prayer, though it is empty something remains; a quiet, a steadiness.  Philippa had thought of a mosque she had seen in Bengal, a mosque of seven domes, eleventh century, and, as with all unspoiled Moslem mosques, empty, not a lamp or a vase or a chair; only walls glimmering with their pale marble. She remembered how, her shoes off, she had stood there, not looking but feeling.  No one is there; God is there.  And here in Brede Abbey, the quiet was stronger--and close.  The light flickering by the tabernacle was warm, alive, and as if they were still there, she heard what the nuns had sung last night at Benediction: "Christus vincit, Christus regnat. Christus imperat." with its three soft repeated cadences.  "Christus vincit," and "Thank you," Philippa had whispered, "thank you for bringing me where I am," and "Even if you send me away, I shall be here forever."

--In this House of Brede, Rumer Godden

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