The ringing of the bells
As I embark upon this journey of trying to marry the monastic lifestyle of prayer and mindfulness of God throughout the day, with a busy woman’s life, I am discovering my imperfections and the difficulties of discipline. This call to take 7 Sacred Pauses throughout the day is a challenge but I did better on day two and will do better today. Three out of the seven were taken on the fly but ya know what, the other 4 were true pauses and times of reflection and I had a little victory. The benefits of this are sweet and internal and I will continue.
“At midnight I rise to give you thanks” Psalm 119:62 “Seven times a day I praise you” Psalm 119:164
The First Bell: Matins/Vigils: The Night Watch **** Midnight, 12 AM
Rarely am I up at midnight. Sometimes I am up at 11pm. Mostly I awake at sometime between 12am and 4am. I have not taken courage to set the chimes to go off at 12 am. Instead I go to sleep with this time of prayer on my mind and when I inevitably awaken in the wee hours, I take this first pause.
This time is used for waiting with purpose, patience, hope and love.
“My soul years for you, O God, I keep vigil with you through the night”
During this pause we are called to deep prayer and interceding for the suffering, abandoned, oppressed and lonely. I think about the homeless of our nation and picture them alone and cold and without. I remember my blessed life, my provision and I am thankful.
This pause is used to be vigilant: keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. It is in this time that I pray for a covering over my home and ask God to reveal the areas of danger in my life, both physical and spiritual. I look for an alignment of my thoughts to God’s ways. It is a time of deep listening. There is silence, surrender and trust.
Psalm 42, 63, 119:145-152 are the words that guide this time.
In the book Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr, there are prayers and meditations and quotes, at the end of each chapter that can be used during these pauses. They are beautiful and will be helpful when I am weak and need a focus for this time.
Last night I went to sleep thinking: For God alone my soul waits in silence Psalm 62:1
This morning I awoke awaiting and anticipating God’s presence.
***The Second Bell: The Awakening Hour: 6 AM…..coming up next.