The bell that rings out silence – Worth Abbey Church #mindful

Worth Abbey

Worth Abbey Church hangs like a bell in the sky, ringing out…silence. This sense of being in a bell that is all to do with silence increases when you sit inside – even more you get a sense of a giant bell hovering above you.

Back in 2006 a phrase of 5th century Bishop, Diadochus of Photike, pioneer of the Jesus Prayer, also rang me like a bell. The energy of that phrase has stayed with me ever since, motivating and directing me. He said, ‘Let us keep our eyes always fixed on the depths of our heart with an unceasing mindfulness of God.’[1]

Within the vast  bell-like space of Worth I have been inspired to cultivate that mindfulness of God. The space and the silence invite you to indwell such mindfulness in your heart.

I have just led a retreat at Worth over the weekend on watchfulness and mindfulness of God. The experience did something which one translation from the Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict calls running ‘with hearts enlarged.’ The experience made my heart bigger. It was not just the space, the silence, the rhythm of prayer – it was the people. Those who were on retreat and the monks who offered us hospitality.

Now as I am home and I believe for weeks afterwards, if previous experience is to go by, that bell church that rings out silence will still ring in my life. I will still hear the echoes of the silence drifting to me on the wind.

[1] Quoted in Olivier Clement, The Roots of Christian Mysticism (London: New City, 2002) p.204.

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