There is a moment in the dawn — and it comes again in the gloaming, the evening twilight — when a stillness falls, and for just the merest second it seems like the veil between heaven and earth has thinned out and may be more easily pierced. The birds chirp; the leaves rustle; the crickets cheep. It is a moment. If you happen to be taking part in Lauds or Vespers at that time, you can particularly feel it slip in and then away. A moment of singularity; one-ness with creation.
As weakly as I have experienced that moment, if I should ever encounter it again I will know that I am one with this astonishing hymn of praise which must be how God hears his smallest creatures; and if he hears their reality so intimately, how much more can we trust that God will hear and know our realities intimately, as well?
It puts me in mind of Saint Thérèse Couderc, the pushed aside and undervalued foundress of the Cenacle Sisters, who accepted her diminishment in the eyes of the world, because she understood that the eyes of God saw something else, entirely:
I saw as in letters of gold this word Goodness, which I repeated for a long while with an indescribable sweetness. I saw it, I say, written on all creatures, animate and inanimate, rational or not, all bore this name of goodness. I saw it even on the chair I was using as a kneeler. I understood then that all that these creatures have of good and all the services and helps that we receive from each of them are a blessing that we owe to the goodness of our God, who has communicated to them something of his infinite goodness, so that we may meet it in everything and everywhere.
The world in silence, glitters gold.
Someone said they thought this sounded like Russian chant. It does. It sounds like liturgy.
UPDATE: A nun wrote to me, “I immediately thought of Tertullian on prayer in the breviary for Lent. I think it is the 3rd week. He talks about how even all the animals pray.” Yes. I’m going to remember this, come Advent, too.