A monastery bell is ironically consistent about one thing. It always calls for change. Time to stop one activity and begin another. The sections of a monastic day are spoken into being by the bells.
Part of me hungers for such bells. I find myself craving the insistent rhythms
of their voices. Predictable, familiar, reliable, steady bells that
would insure my prayer and rest; bells that would regulate and balance
the pieces of my life.
"Just as soon as we are familiar with one set of daily bells ringing," wrote one of you in the Parlor,
"another set replaces them."
Don't we know the truth of this.
Seasons come and go, bringing school bells and wake-up alarms, church
bells and wedding bells, baby cries and phones and stovetop buzzers. They change with every passing year.
Predictable, familiar, reliable, steady? Not really. Out here in the midst of the world, it's not that way.
Bells of "things that must be done" ring out; day by day and year by year they ring.
They change. Consistently, they change.
To answer the legitimate call of God, I must hear, and I must respond. I am called to do as God asks, in every season of my life.
Another friend commenting in the "Parlor" had this to say awhile ago: "If it's 9:00 and I want to pray the mid-morning
prayer and as soon as I sit down my daughter needs me for something,
then it's God's will that I not pray at that time or stop praying when
half finished or whatever. I may want/need that time because I crave
the peace and rest or I desire to worship God. However, God may want my
obedience to my vocation as a wife and mom right now over my prayer. I
figure that if I'm able to pray certain hours of the day, then that's
what God wants. If my family needs me for something else at that time,
then that's what I'm supposed to be doing. I don't try to make up for
it or squeeze it in later. I just move on and try again at the next
scheduled prayer time...."
These are words from one who has learned to live in harmony with the bells.
(Portions of this post were taken from our archives)
Text not in quotes
Painting of bell: Bernhard Stange Das Abendläuten, in US public domain due to age
Painting of family: Von Bornin perhe