April 2, 2012

(This reflection was originally posted at The Cloistered Heart by Nancy Shuman, and reposted here with the kind permission of the author.  We encourage our readers to visit The Cloistered Heart, and there find peace and tranquillity)


Monastery bells ring out at regular times throughout the day, and often in the night. Each peal is a call, signalling that it’s time to pray, eat, work, meet...

In my life, too, I have “bells.” I admit that I both love and dread them. Sometimes I think I’d find them more agreeable if they rang forth with monastic regularity, and I could know I must show up for dinner at noon and prayer at 1:00 and back to my work at 2:00. But no; the bells calling me are usually unpredictable.  They rrrbrbrring forth from the phone, call with a baby’s cry, clang in a doorbell.
Photo in the public domain

Today in a moment of hassle (of the sort that can feel overwhelming), I decided  to make peace  with the bells. I think this decision came with a ring of inspiration. I was overworked, overtired, with too much to do in too few minutes and no energy to do it with.

And it hit me. With a “DONG”, it hit me. I realized that I was scrubbing and gift-wrapping and preparing and rushing and being interrupted because there are people I love who would prefer a clean house to a dirty one. And because a little one has a birthday. And because there are family members and friends visiting, in two different batches, over the next week. And because I have the incredible gift of a family. My goodness – how blessed am I!!

Yesterday I wrote about counting my blessings. Today I counted them clang-by-clang. I had already been thinking of writing about monastery bells, so today I was aware of every sweet chime.

God asks of me what he asks of those in physical monasteries....obedience to the “bells”. Loving attention to the responsibilities of my life. What an opportunity for thanksgiving this could be. “Thank You, Lord, for Linus’s birthday.... thank you that he was born.”     And if the phone rings as I am gift-wrapping? “Thank you for the friend who’s calling.” Oh... the friend has a need? I can pray for that as I mop the floor...

Again, it may sound “simple.” But I’ve found that the most “do-able” things to help my life of prayer are just that.

For prayer and reflection:

“Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe.”  (St. Therese of Lisieux)

“The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His live for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers.... little children, let us love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it.” (1 John 3:16 & 18)

1 comment:

  1. I love the whole concept of The Cloistered Heart. This particular post about monastery bells disguised as every day 'interruptions' was eye-opening for me. For the past week I've been trying to put this into practice and have noticed a change in my level of peacefulness.

    ReplyDelete

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