Wednesday, 30 April 2008

A meditation

I came across this in a novel I'm reading: Night Train to Lisbon, by Pascal Mercier. Out of context, with the author clearly having a different style of architecture in mind, it is nevertheless an attractive and thought provoking passage:

I would not like to live in a world without Cathedrals. I need their beauty and their grandeur. I need them against the vulgarity of the world. I want to look up at the illuminated church windows and let myself be blinded by the unearthly colours. I need their lustre. I need it against the dirty colours of the uniforms. I want to let myself be wrapped in the austere coolness of the churches. I need their imperious silence. I need it against the witless bellowing of the barracks yard and the witty chatter of the yes-men. I want to hear the rustling of the organ, this deluge of etherial tones. I need it against the shrill farce of marches. I love praying people. I need the sight of them. I need it against the malicious poison of the superficial and the thoughtless. I want to read the powerful words of the Bible. I need the unreal force of their poetry. I need it against the delapidation of the language and the dictatorship of slogans. A world without these things would be a world I would not like to live in.


Anonymous said...

If there is one cathedral that fits that description, it is Westminster Cathedral.

People who visit cathedrals, usually go to see monuments, tombs and shining treasures; people who visit Westminster Cathedral, go there to pray.

P.S. Have the repair works started yet?

Anonymous said...

Such contributions on your blog have been sorely missed, Monsignor.

Several years ago, while still Bishop of Aberdeen, the now Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti was hit by shingles to the extent that he had to dispense himself from the Divine Office. He later recovered sufficiently to preach a wonderful sermon on how both the illness and missing the Liturgy of the Hours affected him - and move on to greater things. I hope our prayers aid your recuperation - and perhaps a similar move to greater things...