Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Revisiting Bells

A monastery bell is ironically consistent about one particular 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 almost crave 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, "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 buzzer "bells."  They change with every passing year.

Predictable, familiar, reliable, steady?  No.  Out here, it's just not that way.

Throughout my day, bells of "things that must be done" ring out to me.  The calls to prayer, however, are not automatic.  I must find ways to ring them for myself.

Notes stuck to a mirror, a watch alarm, a phone beep....  I have to make my own reminders. 

When it comes to prayer, I must ring my own bells.

For personal reflection:

- What "bells" call to me on a regular basis in this season of my life?  A wake-up alarm? A baby's cries? Monks and nuns look upon the bell as the voice of God in their daily lives. What happens if I look at my various "bells" as God calling me to do His will at any given moment?

- Do I use any particular things as reminders to pray throughout the day?

Reconciled To You and Theology Is A Verb  

Text not in quotes


  1. I've endeavored to keep a consistent schedule with my prayer life so the clock keeps me in check, much like the monks and nuns. I even checked the schedule of the Carmelite nuns to organize my prayer time and what times I should pray :) When I check the clock, I feel a strong obligation to get up and pray and, if I put it off even for a few minutes, I feel bad. Since my days begin and end with prayer, the middle of the day leaves me time to work on my thesis. Although I feel called by God to my academic studies, as my love for prayer has grown, its harder and harder to put aside my prayer for my history research.

    1. Michelle, I can tell that you have much more self discipline than I have! I must search out ways to impose schedules on myself, because by nature I am a really 'random' person, yet I do crave structure in prayer life and in everyday activities.

      What a blessing to have a real love of prayer!

    2. I am a very structured person although I do like to change things up a bit and I am flexible when my schedule doesn't allow me to pray at the times I want. It has taken me a few years of working through hurt and habitual sin to get where I am currently. I'm trying to be diligent and aware of attacks from the devil as well as my own weakness. I don't want to slide back anymore! Anyways thanks for posting these little study questions...I enjoy reflecting on them :)

  2. Funny, it's structure that I yearned for too as I planned how my Lent would go this year. Through a series of events comprising dreams, prompts and advice received a week before lent began, I made my own Lenten devotion booklet. Once the booklet got done, and I began using it, what seemed like an over-ambitions prayer schedule has been working out gently, and with no strain.

    I too yearn for bells, specifically, church or chapel bells, which would mean that there's a church nearby, but I think being able to keep to a prayer schedule this time might mean that an angel is tinkling a tiny silver bell somewhere.

    1. Caitlynne Grace, I love hearing about your Lenten devotion booklet. A gift from God, particularly for YOU. What a blessing!

      Oh, how I wish I lived where I could hear church bells!!!

  3. I love the bells!! And I'm with you and wish I could hear church bells throughout the day. They are profound and intense and say over and over now now now.... But if I listen very carefully they sway and chime throughout the hours if I would only notice!! Thanks for this post good to be here and commenting again...have been taking three college courses this semester...I'll never do this again!! God bless....

    1. Oh my goodness, you must be busy. I've MISSED you, you who can bring poetry even into a comment :)(.... over and over now now now.... they sway and chime throughout the hours.....). Hope you're having a good Lent!


Enter your comment here...