Monday, July 02, 2012

Caryll Houselander

I had an incredible day at the Lunatic Asylum yesterday.  Met several Queens--female ones--one, the "Queen of the Whole Earth" whose hand I was allowed to kiss and who conferred many titles upon me!   Half, more than half, of the lunatics are practically sane, except on one point, and some even go out to work every day.  I've seldom, if ever, been present at anything so moving as the prayers in the tiny Catholic chapel in the evening, organized entirely by the patients, the prayers of their own choosing and said aloud: and what a mystery and what an example--an ex-Trappist monk, a young girl, an old lady bent double nearly, but in spite of it and in spite of being insane, beautiful, and a handful of others--all people who had started out in life intent on a high vocation, and given it indeed--utter abnegation, put away in a lunatic asylum.  And this is the point--they reached out in their prayers to the whole world.  As I knelt among them, listening at first and in the end joining in unconsciously with them, I grew more and more amazed at their petitions:


"For Russia"
"For the suffering people of Europe"
"For the sick"
"For prisoners"
"For the conversion of the world"
"For purity of heart in the world"
"For purity of heart here"--


and then, to me the most moving petition of all, "That we here in this little chapel dedicated to Your divine Heart may have perfect abandonment to Your dear will."


[...]


But no, it was simply an almost unbelievable showing of the heart of the Mystical Body of Christ, literally bleeding before God with the wounds of the world!


From The Letters of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, ed. Maisie Ward (Sheed & Ward, 1965), pp. 91-92 (letter to Henry Tayler)