Saturday, April 14, 2007

If only once . . .

In her message of condolence about Liz's death, my friend Nancy Wales sent me a quotation from one of the 20th century's most enigmatic and little-known religious figures, Mother Maria of Paris (Maria Skobtsova). It is a rather more serious specification of the little quip I posted the other day to the effect that "having fun" doesn't seem all that much fun to me.

Mother Maria of Paris, infamous for a far from flawless life, wrote these words after the death of her child:
Into the black, yawning grave fly all hopes, plans, habits, calculations, and -- above all -- meaning: the meaning of life. Meaning has lost its meaning, and another incomprehensible Meaning has caused wings to grow at one's back ... And I think that anyone who has had this experience of eternity, if only once; who has understood the way he is going, if only once; who has seen the One who goes before him, if only once -- such a person will find it hard to turn aside from this path: to him all comfort will seem ephemeral, all treasures valueless, all companions unnecessary, if amongst them he fails to see the One Companion carrying his Cross.

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