Sunday, March 4, 2018

undergoing God

Rather suddenly, the lights in this church fall to black. A dimmer falls with the speed of rain, and suddenly all is an enormous dark, a vision, I imagine, of Gerard Manley Hopkins' heart. A dark, voluminous cavern to rummage around in endlessly, searching for that light strangely pellucid and present in the midst of the murk.

Snapping my book shut, I genuflect mechanically in the direction of the Lourdes mural, and turn my steps towards the baptismal font. I am interrupted on my path by an eager thurifer swinging his incense with vigor. The sweet steam of incense swells around the shimmering waters of the font, and wraps around me. I am bathed in an olfactory beauty.

The premature paschal candle parades past me, an irruption of clarity in the purifying darkness. The candle, whose brilliance is usually lost in the splendid, gilt colors of the basilica, radiates gloriously into the gloom. Over the course of twenty-six years, a lot of noise accumulates. It becomes much more difficult to be quiet. The sudden blackouts are perhaps necessary for our own ability to cultivate attentiveness. And peace.

In the crepuscular hush of vespers, I am—as I have so rarely found myself during the past two years of grad school—at rest.

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