Calling & Moaning of the Bells
Between the calling & moaning of the Bells!!
“The bells themselves are the best of preachers ….. The voice of the church; they have tones that touch and search the hearts of young and old.”
Many of us grew with the sound of these bells…. They rang to announce beginnings but also endings...
The use of bells in the Church dates back to the 5th century, when Saint Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, introduced them as a means to summon monks to prayer. The tradition continues and bells now ring to call the faithful to worship at church. But they are also used for a variety of purposes in religious life such as in Divine Liturgy … we know the ringing of the Sanctus bell in Catholic churches representing the coming of Christ in Communion. And also, the death knell - a bell that rings to announce a death, the passing of a person’s soul into the next life.
But the use of bells goes deeper in history…. Bells are mentioned 4 times in the Old Testament of the Bible.
(Exodus 28:33-35): describes the vestments worn by the high priest Aaron as he approached the Arc of the Covenant in the Holiest of Holies. This description of Aaron's extremely ornate priestly vestments is repeated in Exodus 39:25-26 and again in (Sirach 45:9) :
"And he encircled him with pomegranates, with very many golden bells round about, to send forth a sound as he walked, to make their ringing heard in the temple as a reminder to the sons of his people."
The bells were likely included in Aaron's vestments to create “a joyful noise to God, which is an act that man should undertake as described in Psalm 98:4.”
That is why the bells attached to the branches of the Christmas tree represent the Joy of the salvation day, but also Jesus as the High Priest (as a hint to the biblical Jewish priestly vestments).
Bells were also used to indicate adoration to God during early times, as shown in
And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, "Holy to the Lord". And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar.
The ancient cymbals mentioned in (Psalm 150:5-6) are said to have resembled water pitchers with a very wide opening on the top, similar to the bells of today:
“Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
Obviously, throughout ages, bells’ mission was related to a call for worship and prayer…. But, nowadays, with the cry of persecution in some lands and the sound of false secularism in others, there seems a moaning silence of the church bells…. Between the persecutor and the excuse of being “politically correct about not disturbing local "non-Christian" or “non-catholic” communities, we have silenced the bells!! Less frequent we hear the sweet sound….
So, here is a call to keep the sound of church bells solemn and sublime…. Let us keep their mighty ring speaks to our interior sensibilities, awakening our souls from a suspected spiritual sleep.
When our clocks inform us of every hour, of its passage…. When they announce the passing of a year and the coming of a new one…. The sound of bells stays a reminder of eternity, when "there should be time no longer." (Rev. 10, 6).