It was a dark and stormy night.--A Wrinkle in Time

Madeleine L'Engle passed away last Thursday. I am so sad. I don't often cry--practically never for people whom I've never met. But Madeleine is an exception. Her writing changed my life, and I owe much of who I have become to her influence. She has taught me much about faith and living, and in her descriptions of the writing life I recognized myself--long before I knew what to do about it. I want to post some of my favorite quotes, though I could list so many more. I will be looking for news about the public memorial service at St. John the Divine here in New York. I would like to attend, if I can.

How do I make more than a fumbling attempt to explain that faith is not legislated, that it is not a small box which works twenty-four hours a day? If I "believe" for two minutes once every month or so, I'm doing well. . . . I get glimmers of the bad nineteenth-century teaching which has made Mother remove God from the realm of mystery and beauty and glory, but why do people half my age think that they don't have faith unless their faith is small and comprehensible and like a good old plastic Jesus?-- Summer of the Great-Grandmother


I, who live by words, am wordless when

I try my words in prayer. All language turns

To silence. Prayer will take my words and then

Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns

To hold its peace, to listen with the heart

To silence that is joy, is adoration.

The self is shattered, all words torn apart

In this strange patterned time of contemplation

That, in time, breaks time, breaks words,

breaks me,

And then, in silence, leaves me healed and


I leave, returned to language, for I see

Through words, even when all words are


I, who live by words, am wordless when

I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

Madeleine L'Engle {Herself}