Jean Francois Millet, 1857 – “Angelus”
A friend has sent me a wonderful little book entitled “The Music of Silence” by David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk.
It examines the portioning of each day into episodes of peculiar significance consistent with the stages of the Gregorian chants, made regular exercise in the monastic life.
At the Sixth Hour Chant (Sext – Noon) the author reflects on a story concerning the induction of a certain Zen Buddhist Abbot in New York. In the midst of the most solemn portion of the service the Abbot’s wrist watch went off, sounding noon. His response to the gathering was very direct, “That’s my watch, and it is no accident. I have resolved at the noon hour, wherever I am and whatever I am doing to stop, reflect and pray for peace for a world that needs it.”
In the moment that followed the large gathering remained quiet and prayerful as the leader had suggested. An unforgettable “now” in the passing of time.
Author David reflected:
“I have told the story of the Abbot’s installation many times, and I always find that people are eager to help revive this custom. Now, all over the world, people are praying at high noon for peace, as we have done in the monastery for hundreds of years. How beautiful it would be to hear bells and gongs from famous shrines ring out peace on radio and television at high noon.”
Instead, regrettably, our communities are full of adults focusing on violent sports, wrangling politicians, nuclear debates, survivor celebrities and striving merchandisers; our children are lost in games of monstrous conflict and mayhem and tales of wizardry and domination.
Oh come Prince of Peace to settle the Tempest.