Jan 13 • 11M

Into Great Silence

The Grande-Chartreuse

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Mists rose up from the deep valleys and ravines, and the fir-capped mountains roundabout were lost in clouds.  A bell pealed from the tower, and white-robed monks began to appear, leaving their manual labor to congregate in the chapel for prayer.

”I do not know why I am here," said the bridegroom.

"We’re on our way to Geneva," the bride said, "and we'll be spending only a night in this wilderness."

"Yes," he said, but he bowed his head and was troubled.

Soon after, that bridegroom, Matthew Arnold, would write a poem, “Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse,” wherein these famous lines are to be found:

Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Their faith, my tears, the world deride - 
I come to shed them at their side.

He had lost his faith in all the supernatural features of the Gospel, had it scoured out of him by the discoveries and the myths of 19th-century science, but he was not joyful abo…

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