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This season of Lent, I am focusing on the monastic practice of seven daily pauses. Each week, I offer you a poem and piece of gradually changing art for each pause. Last week, we rested at the Blessing Hour (9am). This week, we break at Noon, the Hour of Illumination. A wonderful book greatly aiding me through this series is Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr.

Mid-day Peace

We’ve reached the noon hour.
There’s no turning back.
The cool, dark shadows are gone,
a ribbon of sun stream at its’ peak,
Yes, look close—
a white energetic glow falls over
all the living, all the breathing.
Do you see it?
It’s important to pause here,
hear the heartbeat,
the precious existence
of those we are near —
to restore peace
with ourselves
with others.

Yes, let us
release ourselves from
the bind of work,
conversation of work,
bidding of work,
to link with those
in the next cubicle,
at our family table,
those who’ve 
gone before us.

I hear your groans.
“There is no peace, Ally.
I have a lot on my plate. Plus,
how can we restore peace
in this mess of a world?”

Okay. I hear you.
But let’s go back to Eve.
Let’s revision Eve,
not as a sinner,
but a seed bearer. Yes,
she the one who
observed a seed of peace
on the clothes God
wrapped her with.
A seed she carefully
tended to and placed
into the heart of Seth.

This seed sprouted a
vine and wove itself
into the labor of Noah,
the courage of Abraham,
the laughter of Sarah.
This peace cord trailed
into the wisdom of Tamar,
Moses’ tired feet, and
grew into the hands of Rahab.
Ruth gleaned it in the fields, it
spilled into Bathsheba’s beauty.

This di-vine of peace
spread itself far and wide
until it found it’s way to
Mother Mary’s womb
connected to baby Jesus.
Jesus flung it wild to those on his path.
Those with ears to hear took hold of it.
Zaccheus welcomed,
Peter crossed barriers,
Mary Magdelene devoted herself.

Yes, this peace gathered strength with Paul.
It took root in Nicodemus,
was given as gift to Timothy and Priscilla
and shared in letter after letter.

The yarn of peace kept weaving
through the slow, steady landscape of time,
into the visions of Hildegard of Bingen,
the prayers of Julian of Norwich, the
daily tasks of Brother Lawrence,
the paintbrush of Michelangelo.

This peace knows no borders,
knows no nationalities,
knows no clock.
It has wound it’s way into
our century into
the writings of Anne Frank,
the tender hands of Mother Theresa,
the words of Martin Luther King Jr.,
the stance of Gandhi.

Today, the cord of peace finds itself
in the prayers of Thich Nat Han,
the lyrics of Bono,
the speeches of Malala.

These, the ones who cheer us on
from the sidelines. Who remind us
to pick up the thread of peace
that lays at our feet.
It comes to you each day,
this noon hour,
full of light and love.

You are part of this story.
All you have to do is pick up
the vine (the one that began
as a seed at the beginning of time), then
do what is yours to do
with love in your heart.

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6am: The Awakening Hour
9am: The Blessing Hour