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A Reaction to the Most Essential Part of the Mass

—So he remained seated and felt pretty uncomfortable for a while.

Now came the most essential part of the Mass. He tried to follow, but could not remember what the priest was saying or what his movements signified, though he had read about it once.—

But in the stillness which suddenly filled the church, when the organ and choir fell silent—and the little hand-bells tinkled and he saw the little white host raised high in the priest’s hands—then quite quietly he too let himself slip forward on his knees and hid his face in his hands. If it was this that was the reality, and everything else in the world merely derived its reality from this reality—then of course one’s whole life, if it had served its connection with this, was nothing but a sort of wading through rushes in a mist, and all the values one pursued were actually but dirt, like the food in the pixies’ cups.—

As he rose to go out he caught sight of the Gotaas’s a few rows in front—they were still on their knees, perhaps had some private prayers to say. It looked as if that was the custom here—people seemed to conclude the service each for himself.

—from The Wild Orchid by Sigrid Undset, Ch. 15



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