Ring the Bells

February 2

There are many aspects of our life that are exactly the same
as they were when we lived in the states. 
We have the same furniture, I cook mainly the same things, our habits
are essentially as they were two years ago.

The one thing that is sure to remind me that we are in fact living
in Italy is the sound of the church bells. 

While the ringing of the church bells is traditionally done
as a call to prayer, we also view it as a very practical way to know what time
it is. 

I don’t notice them each time they ring, nor are we home all
the time.  But we almost  always hear the first bells of the morning ring
at 7:00 am.  Time to get up and start
your day.   (My personal rule for the
weekends is that I don’t get out of bed until I’ve heard the bells.)

Typically I hear them around noon.  Yes, this is a reminder to pray but I also
often think of it as a way to remind the community to wrap up what you are
doing and prepare for lunch.

The final bells we hear are around 7:00 (time for dinner!) and 9:00 which
signals the end of the day.

I love the tradition and the rhythm.  

There are some days when the bells ring at unusual times.  Today was one.  When I heard the bells ring at 2:45 I knew
that there must be a funeral taking place in town.  And just as I sat to write, the bells rang
again signaling the end of the mass and the beginning of the procession to the cemetery. 

While the gentle nudges to shift focus during the day are
nice, I think learning more about the specific types of prayer, Praying the
Hours or Liturgy of the Hours, would be really interesting.  It seems like it would be an amazing practice
to begin.

 

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