Home > Uncategorized > Lawrence Schoonover: An entire nation praying for peace at one time

Lawrence Schoonover: An entire nation praying for peace at one time


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Lawrence Schoonover: Accursed powder

Lawrence Schoonover: An age of strict justice and peace, when nations shall live under law, without war


Lawrence Schoonover
From The Spider King
A Biographical Novel of Louis XI of France

One of the diplomatic things in the letter to the pope made history. Louis had ordered mass prayers for peace at high noon every day. Henceforth every Frenchman, whoever he was, would stop whatever he was doing when he heard the midday bells, bow his head, and recite three Ave Marias.

Organized prayers for peace on a national scale had never been known before, far less commanded by royal edict. Louis was assaulting the gate of Heaven itself, clamoring to be heard. If one prayer was good, how much better and louder and more efficient sixteen million would be, all uttered simultaneously!

Not everyone prayed in a realm so divided, especially the great lords. But the little people, as always, wanted peace; the threat of another, longer, more terrible war, with hideously improved new weapons, was dark and heavy. In their thousands in the shops, in their millions in the fields, whenever church bells could be heard – and that was everywhere – the little people of France pulled off their caps and paused and prayed the first Angelus. The beautiful national custom was destined to survive long after the emergency that created it was forgotten, the generation that first uttered it dust, and the king who commanded it a legend.

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