Fr. Rodrigue Azanmasso, CJM
I still remember, as if it was only yesterday, how, when I was kid, each time the bell of the parish rings, my own attention and the attention of all the people were directed toward the parish. I can remember how solemn and majestic each time the bell rings. The bell rings to call the attention of all the Christians and non-Christians to an event. (a reminder of the prayer time that is, the time of God, a call for the holy Mass gathering, or simply an appeal to come for an important announcement).
It is currently obvious that the material bell, has stopped ringing in most of our parishes, there are now electronic bells, but the impact is not the same for those who were accustomed to the old bells. Nevertheless, our consciousness’ bell has not stopped ringing, this bell of our consciousness is inviting us now to start the journey toward Easter. It says, “get up now, leave your sleepiness, prepare your heart for the passage.” (Passover)
Hear the bells ringing again in your heart. It does not call you for something you are accustomed to performing, it appeals for a newness, it asks for a new way to hear its sound. It concretely says, “do not do mechanically or routinely what you usually do.”
Through the mouth of the prophet Joel, we are told: rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God. It is an invitation to an interior pilgrimage, not first of all, to an outward and meaningless observance of Lent. The interior pilgrimage is the one in which, the heart is totally turned toward God. Only then, the heart can see where there is a need for weeping, mourning and fasting, not only from food, but also from everything that hurts, kills, and makes our neighbor suffer. It is, in effect, a transformation from within, in which the heart realizes its nothingness without God, and its fullness when it is totally centered on God. Consequently, as Jesus said in the gospel according to Matthew, our almsgiving, our prayers, and our fasting will all be pleasant and acceptable to God.
Behold, the bells are ringing again….announcing a very acceptable time...the day of salvation.
Do not be indifferent, do not just follow the trend, and do not say “it is the same thing again…’’ instead, allow yourself to be cut to the heart, do not let your heart become cold and insensitive.