The Garden of Allah eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 736 pages of information about The Garden of Allah.
he and my mother were parting for ever.  I was a little boy at the time, but I remember that, when he was dead, my mother said to me, ’Boris, pray for your father every day.  He is still alive.’  She said nothing more, but I ran upstairs crying, fell upon my knees and prayed—­trying to think where my father was and what he could be looking like.  And in that prayer for my father, which was also an act of obedience to my mother, I think I took the first step towards the monastic life.  For I remember that then, for the first time, I was conscious of a great sense of responsibility.  My mother’s command made me say to myself, ’Then perhaps my prayer can do something in heaven.  Perhaps a prayer from me can make God wish to do something He had not wished to do before.’  That was a tremendous thought!  It excited me terribly.  I remember my cheeks burned as I prayed, and that I was hot all over as if I had been running in the sun.  From that day my mother and I seemed to be much nearer together than we had ever been before.  I had a twin brother to whom I was devoted, and who was devoted to me.  But he took after my father.  Religious things, ceremonies, church music, processions—­even the outside attractions of the Catholic Church, which please and stimulate emotional people who have little faith—­never meant much to him.  All his attention was firmly fixed upon the life of the present.  He was good to my mother and loved her devotedly, as he loved me, but he never pretended to be what he was not.  And he was never a Catholic.  He was never anything.

“My father had originally come to Africa for his health, which needed a warm climate.  He had some money and bought large tracts of land suitable for vineyards.  Indeed, he sunk nearly his whole fortune in land.  I told you, Domini, that the vines were devoured by the phylloxera.  Most of the money was lost.  When my father died we were left very poor.  We lived quietly in a little village—­I told you its name, I told you that part of my life, all I dared tell, Domini—­but now—­why did I enter the monastery?  I was very young when I became a novice, just seventeen.  You are thinking, Domini, I know, that I was too young to know what I was doing, that I had no vocation, that I was unfitted for the monastic life.  It seems so.  The whole world would think so.  And yet—­how am I to tell you?  Even now I feel that then I had the vocation, that I was fitted to enter the monastery, that I ought to have made a faithful and devoted monk.  My mother wished the life for me, but it was not only that.  I wished it for myself then.  With my whole heart I wished it.  I knew nothing of the world.  My youth had been one of absolute purity.  And I did not feel longings after the unknown.  My mother’s influence upon me was strong; but she did not force me into anything.  Perhaps my love for her led me more than I knew, brought me to the monastery door.  The passion of her life, the human passion, had been my father.  After he was dead the passion of her life was prayer for him.  My love for her made me share that passion, and the sharing of that passion eventually led me to become a monk.  I became as a child, a devotee of prayer.  Oh!  Domini—­think—­I loved prayer—­I loved it——­”

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The Garden of Allah from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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