Saturday, October 8, 2011

Benedict's Bells

"Listen, whoever you are,   
   Listen with the ear of the heart."                               
                                    Benedict  Prologue to the Rule                                                                             


There are many bells throughout the weave of hours in the desert of my home. When I am listening at all I hear them faintly in the noise of my day calling out with the changing tasks in mid-stream:  a child's outreaching hand or arguing or the food prep or pots that need scrubbing or the laundry or mopping the floor or the running to piano and violin lessons or cleaning again or the person or child who needs holding and feeding or the caring of a dog and cats and horses or letting the chickens out as I am leaving for a day's labor at the office. These bells signifying a call to prayer, harmony with the mild; that my time is not my own but God's possession; that my time is not about me but a gift to serve and worship our Lord and one another. When I protest and grow irritable I have turned the bells into self. When I bellar at the kids because they are supposed to be in bed and come downstairs to ask me for trivia for the third time and I stomp and bluster away angry from the article on prayer I was attempting to read, I turn the bells into ugly; I bang the scales.  But when I silence the song of self and give gently to my neighbor, whoever reaches out for help in my day, whether I feel like it or not, then the Lord is heard in hearing these lovely bells; then can I drop to my knees and give thanks for this time's fleeting hymn; this stretching of the heart.  When I hear them that is. When in the cacophony of my circular seconds I have presence enough to listen for them ringing out across the waves of need; the deepening water of love.  Lord have mercy on a struggling soul trying at living a holy life and botching it up so regularly.

                                                                           If today you hear God's voice,
                                                                              harden not your hearts.

                                                                                                      Psalm 95:8

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