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This statement in Shards of Honor chapter 8 (page 125 of the omnibus edition Cordelia's Honor) has always puzzled me:

The feeble joke did nothing to dissolve the clot of hysteria rising in her throat, so she fell back on an older and more serious discipline, whispering its words aloud. By the time she finished self-control had returned.

What "older and more serious discipline" is Cordelia referring to? Has there ever been any word of God on the subject? Failing that, does anyone know of any theist practice that could be referred to as a "discipline" and that involves saying memorized words?

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I think Cordelia is praying. Not much is said in the books about what kind of theism she practices, but as her home culture, Beta colony, seems to be derived from Earth North America and since she tells Bothari that blood washes away sin, I would guess she's a kind of Christian. TV Tropes reports "Word of God" that Cordelia is a Betan Presbyterian.

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    Problem is, Presbyterians (well, the Earth versions thereof, maybe the Betan version has been modified?) don't really use memorized prayers other than the Lord's Prayer, and even that they try to say "mindfully", rather than by rote. – Martha Aug 7 '12 at 13:37
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    Thanks, I didn't know that. I think non-memorized prayer fits in the story context as well. – Pixel Jan 11 '13 at 22:16

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