Before Brother Mattheus could go any further with his tales of the monastery, the bell started tolling for chapel. Mattheus showed the pilgrim where he could go – either to join in the chapel prayers, or, if he preferred, to wander round the monastery or gardens. The monk then scurried off to join his fellows, leaving our pilgrim alone in the refectory, pondering, and listening to the steady, low toll of the bell. Dong… dong… dong… It seemed to call him, stirring something deep in his stomach.
The pilgrim made his way to the chapel and sat in a pew at the back as the monks filed in, softly chanting their reverence to God.
After the service was over, the pilgrim continued to sit, appreciating the silence and the still coolness of the place. Something about the simplicity of the Sext liturgy had touched him – as though some deep mystery were present in the very stillness between the words. He sat there in silence, relishing the sense of presence; feeling no need to understand or explain his experience, but just to live it, fully, now. As he sat, he felt an incredible sense of peace, of lightness in his being, such as he had never known before. Unbidden, gentle tears trickled down his cheek and an easy smile came to his face.