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Friday, May 2, 2014

My monastic bells

By Nancy Shuman

File:Bernhard Stange Das Abendläuten.jpg
Painting by Bernhard Stenge (Wikimedia Commons).

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.

Continue reading at Nancy's blog The Cloistered Heart.

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