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4.7 out of 5 stars
Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day
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91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Steindl-Rast examines the moods implied in the canonical hours of the day. I have purchased both the book and the audio tapes of the book. The ideas expressed by Steindl-Rast are positive, valuable, and applicable to daily life. Prime, for example, occurring early in the day, according to Steindl-Rast, might be considered too early and simply an oh-no-here-we-go-again complaint. (my word, not his!) Or, it can be considered an opportunity, kind of a drumroll to our work of the day, preparing us to go ahead with energy and commitment.
Steindl-Rast uses a picture by Fra Angelico, which includes angels for each of the canonical hours, to explain many ideas. He also quotes the poets Robert Frost and Rainer Maria Rilke in his explanations of ideas. The excerpts of poetry are excellent and have led me to read more of each of these poets.
The music of which the author speaks is Gregorian Chant. And the words of the chants are the prayers and meditations that express the hours.
A high school music teacher, I have found the author's defining of the roots of words to describe their applications to be an excellent way to share vocabulary with my students. I have also found many ideas about music and a positive approach to life, all of which my students seem to appreciate.
This is an excellent book.
M C Papadolias
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
The author discusses how time can be a deeply sacred part of the hours of our lives, and why an appreciation of time has been developed by the experts of the monastic orders. Nothing is as ordinary, or as sacred, as time. Far from being an infinitesimally small unit of measurement or a means of separating one event from another, time provides the means by which the still, small, silent voice of God may be heard. This is a book to take on a sabbatical journey.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
While walking the reader through the daily life of a monk's spiritual journey, this author also inspires the lay person to listen to the "Music of Silence".
Every chapter deserves contemplation. The book gives everyone a direction to follow, as the hours of the day flow.
I found it even more inspirational to listen to Gregorian Chant while reading. I especially like "CHANT" by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo De Silos.
If you truly need a break from the hectic pace of today's life then this book is a must read.
It has become a permanent part of my library and look forward to reading more from this author.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found "Music of Silence" a perfect book to accompany me on a week's retreat to a contemplative Benedictine monastery, where the life of a day is built around the offices, or hours, from Matins through Compline. David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who has written this companion of reflective essays for each of the monastic hours, to take the reader though the day, as it were. The essays are surprisingly wide-ranging, delving down many paths, from the Zen Buddhism of Thich Nhat Hanh to Rilke. They open up the meaning of such little hours as Terce and Sext, and in doing so they illuminate the various spiritual stages of every passing hour of the day, from night to night. Returning to my secular life I found myself still pondering the hours we pass through daily, as the stages of each passing day really do illuminate a whole life lived.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I have been reading it for several years now. It contains a lot of wisdom. It helps me. It is the first book I have used for my own, non-Catholic, non-monk, "Lectio Divina."

I am also an atheist. Yet I find spiritual wisdom in this book.

It is a very short book. That is one of its greatest strengths. The brevity has allowed me to develop a familiarity with it that helps me sometimes get beyond the words.

It is a practical book because one can use it to improve his or her own spiritual discipline. The concept of an Horarium alone has helped me immensely. The author's descriptions of what the Hours mean (he describes Vigils, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline) have great meaning for me.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the one-star review because it seems to provide some good facts, certainly facts that can be checked if one is interested. And I figure that devout Catholics might need to take prophylactic precautions before opening their minds and hearts to this book. And non-Catholics like myself need to be reminded that we cannot blame any harm that results from reading it on the Pope or the Church. Nor can we blame any blessings we receive from it on the Church (or even on God).

Please note: The copy I purchased was hardcover and did NOT include the CD. I do not consider that a problem as I do not use chanting in my own life. The book DID give me a much better idea of how Benedictine monks make good use of Chant.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
An old expression goes, even a mute man can sing in his heart. This more than adequate book enables the reader to contemplate and appreciate the silence of the heart, and the physical silence of monastic tradition, a very positive way. Without being overbearing - or, in a sense, even religious - Br David Steindl-Rast delights the reader with powerful insights to the majesty, the mystery, the en-chant-ment of the Hours and how the solitary heart can sing to God. You don't have be Catholic or traditional Christian to appreciate the power of this little book.
(Br Graham-Michael)
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
I purchased this complete with a copy of "Chant" by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.
The beauty and stillness of this is enchanting and refreshing to the mind. We truly enter the world of sacred monastary in this way.
Just beautiful! Pax Domini!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is one of the best of spiritual meditation books that I have ever read.
It is joyful and inspiring- I read a few pages every day at breakfast and feel so enriched by the insights of this Benedictine monk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is a wonderfully simple but elegant introduction to the six periods of group prayer practiced by monks around the world. What make this simple book unique is how the author weaves in the value and mysteries buried in the Gregorian Chant that is an integral part of the process. I've taken to reading one of "the Hour" chapters as part of my morning Meditation practice and found it to be a rich addition to my goal of living my day in the Contemplative mode..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
If you are interested in praying the daily office and in chant, you will enjoy this book. Yet another way to contemplation.
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