Where Time Becomes Space

During his second conference, Abbot Anderson read a brief passage from a book by Judith Cabaud, Where Time Becomes Space, (author, Judith Anthony) in order to illustrate the gift of illumination that God may send to faithful souls as they ascend the rugged road of the Beatitudes. The Abbot translated from his French edition. I found the book through an inter-library loan; I read it in two sittings. It is a beautiful and insightful book about conversion and transformation in grace. And I am happy to report that the book is still in print and available from a remarkable website, The Association of Hebrew Catholics. Find the book listed here and linger to explore the website. I join my high praise for this little book to the already strong recommendation by Abbot Anderson.

This passage was not included in the transcript provided by Abbot Anderson, but I now plan to add it. Author Judith Cabaud describes an experience she had during communion one morning at Mass in a small church nearby her home in France. 

I took refuge in meditating on Mary Magdelene and wished I could have stayed at the Lord’s feet the way she had, pouring perfume on them and drying them with her hair . . . to be there, at his feet . . 

I thought of union in death, union with loved ones, and still more of a union that seemed unattainable, with God himself, who revealed himself in the lives of saints —  who were so remote from me.

A bell tinkled and I prayed, with few people present for that First Friday, a Mass to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on a gray windy day. At communion, I went up and received the Host.

I was kneeling at my place when I felt at first a confusion, then an emotion, then more an emotion, as my senses were numb — more a sort of ecstasy. It was if I heard the most beautiful music, and more . . . As if I saw the most beautiful sight, and more . . . For a few seconds, or minutes (there was no time), I was inhabited by the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. He came to me, I came to him. My eyes closed, I saw without seeing. . . A white tunic of incomparable texture, enveloping me — huge, immense, like the sea, engulfing me. Above, there was a face in a shadow, a contour without features, overwhelming, all inspiring. . . .

In a flash, I heard myself say: “You are so beautiful, so beautiful.”

Though everything was the same on the outside by the end of Mass, my heart was aflame and so swollen with emotion that I found myself bathed in tears, with a smile on my lips. New peace and new love. . . . I was in love. . . .He was beauty, radiance, splendor. He came into the depth of my soul and I saw him there, and it was love at first sight.

The author reports that the intensity of the love lasted for three months. But then . . “He left me out in the desert after that but it didn’t matter anymore, because I knew all the time that he was there.”

This passage is very near the end of the book. She offers a brief meditation on the star leading the three wise men. It was brighter than the other stars and planets (markers of the seasons and time, of course) .  .  . and so by following the brighter star they found “the place where the child was.” And they went inside, saw the child, and worshiped  him. The author prays “Heavenly Lord, may we offer you the gold of love, the incense of prayer, and the myrrh of penance.”

She stands in the kitchen of  her rural home where she and her husband were farming and raising eight children. She concludes with this passage containing the title of her book: “And I watched the sun set from left to right behind the Douglas fir tree, then from right to left, and the seasons said that Time is here in the desert, or in the green meadows, and I wondered what is Time and where it is, and now I know: in God, Time becomes space.”

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