Monday, October 12, 2009

Kathryn Forrester Thro-The Little Mass Bells

Kathryn Forrester Thro: The Litttle Bells

Falling asleep last night after writing of the beauty of the small bells we hear at Mass, and of the loveliness of the Blessed Virgin's virtues, the thought came to my so quickly how I am like those earthly, transitory bells that can only point towards Heaven.

Someday, I will no longer have a voice at all. I might not awaken on this side of Paradise, but instead die to this world and perhaps be with Christ in Paradise, or await a further transformation of the soul.

Do we each have a special gift that is God's delight? If one is brilliant, studious, handsome, logical, persuasive, one can go out into the world and teach, bringing others to Christ through wisdom, through sharing in the vein of "Come, let us reason together." How magnificent, these great teachers! Leading us further into the mysteries of God, the history of the Church, all the while showing the love of Christ in their devotion to instructing us! Every lesson, every instruction sweeping us up in the ecstasy of the history and present passion of Christ in our lives while we listen in awe and wonder as new lambs in the fold.

What alchemy, what tender upbringing, we wonder, what sacrifices, and such great grasp of heavenly knowledge go into the making of those teachers who lead us towards the wisdom of love? How miraculous, to have the gift of the Great Teacher Himself, to now share that gift with all the lambs in the fold so that we stay safe in the arms of God? One is breathless, swept up in wonder at how generously and perfectly God shines out in His chosen teachers, who are shepherds of faith, who call us forward to participate in some way....In our awe, we shy away, and may wonder if we have anything to call a gift of our own, so entranced are we at the sheer majesty of wisdom we are only now seeing for the first time!

If one is born beautiful and admired, she may wed, have many children and bless the world and the church.

If one is poor, or is a lost child, she may be the one lamb that the Good Shepherd goes after, leaving the other Ninety and the Nine in the locked gates to search for that one, dear child of God. God has a special love for all those wanderers, for we, like sheep, so often go astray and so His love is big enough to search us out and find us, wherever we are.

But if I am neither brilliant or beautiful in the least, and am perhaps only a new convert, safe for the time being in the gates after myself being caught up in the Shepherd's great arms, into His safety, if I am his newest foundling, what can I ever hope to be?

Does He give me a special name? Some reminder that while He is busy, there is something He has given me to do?

Yes. Christ takes me down from His shoulders after rescuing me, leads me to the safe pasture and whispers in my ear at Mass about the little bells. That I may be the newest, the least studied, rescued from obscurity and storms. I may indeed be still shivering from those storms of life and wondering how all my problems will be solved. I may be timid at times, seeing the great wisdom all around me from the wise teachers he has given me.

What is there to do but be silent and learn, I ask? Then after a time of learning, He whispers that while it is true that I am just rescued, he will give me a little gift so that I will not be lost again. Like the beautiful little bells of Mass that sweep our poor temporal minds into thoughts of Heaven, he whispers that I shall become His little bell. That, like the Mass bells, I will not last forever, for only He can take us to Heaven. While I shall never be the great teachers I am so fortunate to have, I will have a little gift, a special calling. I shall be the little bell, He whispers, plucking one from the heavens and placing it around my neck.

If I am careful, and stay within the safety of His love, my gift will be to remember and remind others of all those He seeks out that are poor, lost, starving, abused, hungry, thirsty, imprisoned in spirit, in cells of their own making or behind bars.

He sets me down at my little writing desk and says "Make mention of these, my beloveds". To be a small reminder of His great love, to ring softly, on the right occasion, to watch and wait for signs to point all towards the Heaven of loving others as He loves us, that is the job of the little bell who will not live forever on the earth, but who is Heaven bound. Yet, for now, this little bell will ring, will sing of the Love of God for His most beloved: those who are still lost, and need a little music from Heaven to show them the way.

And what does He whisper to you today? Where are you on the landscape? Safe within decades of a loving family or storm tossed, waiting for rescue? Look to Him, towards Heaven. He may, this very moment, be catching you up on His shoulder so that He can whisper some Heavenly secret to you!

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Foundress of Mary's Joy, a Catholic helping hands link. Poet Laureate Emeritus of Virginia and Poet Laureate of Clan Forrester Society.