Jake Frost contemplates a sound that represents both a call to prayer and reminder of God's presence.
For our family reunion this summer we travelled to a little town tucked in the forest far in the “North Woods” of the Upper Midwest.
It was great to see family again. Throughout the year we keep in touch with texts and telephone calls, but that isn’t the same as hugs and laughs and tall-tales and quiet moments catching-up over a cup of coffee while the kids play in the lake. Not to mention Momma’s cookies!
During the reunion I stayed with my wife and kids in a Bed-and-Breakfast on a little lake where mist rose from the water in the chill of the morning.
We live further south, where our temperatures had been in the 90s, so the cool weather was delightful. It felt like autumn, my favorite time of year.
And the morning after our first day of the reunion, while I was sitting on the patio outside our room enjoying the cool and quiet, and letting the kids sleep after a long day of driving and adventures, I got a special treat: church bells ringing out in the early morning.
The little Catholic church in this tiny town tucked in the woods kept to the old tradition of the Angelus Bells. Every morning, noon, and evening, the bells rang.
I hadn’t heard that for a long time.
What a sweet sound.
It was beautiful.
In the midst of the world’s trying times, those bells, at the beginning of each day, in the middle of each day, and at the close of each day, were a wonderful reminder that God is with us.
God is with us this day, in this place -- wherever we happen to be -- in these times, right now.
God is still in charge. He has a plan. He has already won. And what He now asks of us is that we be faithful, this morning, this afternoon, this evening, right now, this day. And the bells tell us that He is with us to help us and give us the graces we need to answer His call.
As I heard the bells that morning, I grabbed my pocket notebook and wrote this poem:
The Ringing of the Bells
When bells rang out upon the town
My heart was happy at the sound
That spoke to me of mystery
And greater things than what we see
For in their ringing the bells convey
Things we know but cannot say
For all our words some things transcend
And point us to our final end
And tell us God is here today
And with us all along the way.
I hope you have many hugs and much laughter in the days ahead, a few tall tales and lots of homemade cookies, and the sweet sound of ringing of bells!
Copyright 2021 Jake Frost
Image: Krzysztof Golik, CC BY-SA 4.0, Bell tower of Saint-Martin Church of Pinet, La Cresse, Aveyron, France (2017), via Wikimedia Commons
About the Author
Jake Frost is an attorney, husband, and father of four grade-school aged kids. He’s the author of six books: a Catholic fantasy novel, The Light of Caliburn; Catholic Dad: (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family, and Fatherhood; Catholic Dad 2: More (Mostly) Funny Stories of Faith, Family, and Fatherhood; From Dust to Stars: Poems by Jake Frost; Victory! Poems by Jake Frost; and a children’s book he also illustrated called The Happy Jar.