In these days of searingly painful news, a time in which world events explode all around us, our longing for peace has rarely seemed more poignant, and peace itself more vital. Christmas can remind us, though, that people were hungering for peace two thousand years ago in the Middle East. They longed for peace, too, a thousand years ago on our own shores. And the narrative of Christmas is one of hope. This post focuses again on the great stone towers at Reculver, which was a monastic community both before and after the Norman invasion.
III Pax Domini 669 – 1150 AD
Bound for long silences,
For the telling of beads & hours on knees
In the monastery church built on crumbling rubble
(Above the seas & the wreckage of Romans),
Monks guided their missiles of plainsong & prayer to low clouds.
No more invaders striding, riding here
But (always reminding them of time’s truth) the dry whisper
Of wind in thrift, in sweet-cut hay,
And the battering of waves,
The chattering of bead-like stones on encroaching cliffs.
No more Pax Romana.
Instead, now, Pax Domini vobiscum—
Et cum spiritu tuo—for all wrong deeds
And the desperate longing
That—for ever & for ever—peace should fall upon us.
© Lizzie Ballagher