This evening, as is normal for me, I was early to my choir rehearsal. The Cathedral doors were still open, but the lights had been dimmed in preparation for closing. The only light came from the glow of the eternal candles over the altars, and the gentle radiance from one of the side chapels where Evening Prayer was being said. Over the rise and fall of voices in prayer from the side chapel, the Cathedral was silent, a living, present silence which wraps itself around me in soothing welcome.
The Cathedral is one of the few places where I feel that there is room for all of my thoughts.
At the back of the Cathedral is a stand where people light and leave candles beneath a small statue of the Madonna and Child. It’s a beautiful statue – the Madonna looks peaceful, contented, and yet somehow as though she has witnessed the suffering of the world. I feel comforted when I meet the gaze in this inert carved wood which is somehow so much more. I feel as though I am not alone.
Tonight I said a prayer, for a dear friend whose soul is weighed down by what she endures. And I lit a candle for her and let the single vulnerable flame stand bravely in the darkness.
And while I went off to the bright, demanding, lively bustle of my rehearsal, that small living flame shone in peace and held for me the prayer of my heart.