Vignette: Oxford, England

By Tomás Valle

Morning breaks from the east, soaring above thick stone walls and bursting against the loftier chapel spires. The rhythm of prayer—morning, noon, evening, and again morning—weaves in and out of college life, and the stone floors of each chapel have borne the scuffling feet of scholars, their minds devout, dissolute, or merely distracted. Yet the noonday angelus calls all souls alike, be they burdened by exams, overdue papers, or poor marks, and the tall, cold walls lift upwards every spirit seeking refuge from the midday heat. As afternoon casts its cares to evening, the last rays enlighten the windows, each one wrought to teach the faith and commemorate the faithful, and wash the rafters with stained brightness—dark blue and red through golden yellow—until, in the darkness of compline, burning candles bow and flicker before the golden crucifix. And, as the sun rises on yet another day of weary existence, the care-worn soul (as in a moment of eternity) looks upwards to Christ born, crucified, victorious, with all the blinding glory of the heavenly host.

Image courtesy Emily Lehman.

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