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?