Times Square was packed with party-ers, fireworks were going off hour-by-hour world wide, and here at Sacred Heart Monastery, were spent a holy hour in silence broken only by occasional song or chanted Psalm.
Sunday, January 1st, was the World Day of Peace. We gathered in the semi-dark of our chapel to begin our prayer for peace in vigil. We began the holy hour with two of our sisters lighting the altar and dedication candles about the chapel (quiet organ accompanied them). Then we sat in silent prayer before God. My assignment was to call us from our silence to the next part of our prayer, Sister Liturgist gave me a bell to sound in calling us back from our recollection. Other 'parts' in our prayer included a song calling us to live in peace, a Psalm asking God to bring us peace, a reading about peace from Thich Nhat Hanh to remind us of the universal call to live for peace, and then we concluded with the Magnificat and a blessing from the prioress. But each of these moments was surrounded by silence, a silence that was filled with the our sisters prayer. A silence that was overpowering in its being so full.
Pope Benedict XVI also spoke for peace and the need to teach our youth to seek and strive after peace...I found his closing lines especially powerful.
All you men and women throughout the world, who take to heart the cause of peace: peace is not a blessing already attained, but rather a goal to which each and all of us must aspire. Let us look with greater hope to the future; let us encourage one another on our journey; let us work together to give our world a more humane and fraternal face; and let us feel a common responsibility towards present and futureBlessings,
generations, especially in the task of training them to be people of peace
and builders of peace.