what is at the centre?

Jun 17, 2010

The University of St Mary of the Lake must be the most beautiful university campus in the world. It was built in the 1920’s on 800 acres of woodland and lake just north of Chicago. All the university buildings (with some later additions) are built in a uniform style, making the total picture of the campus very pleasing.

Even on a brief visit, there is no mistaking what the core of the campus is. The chapel is prominent and central. All other buildings surround this heart of the university.

The bells of the clock tower chime the passing of every fifteen minutes through both day and night. Our communal prayer three times a day in the chapel begins with the ring of the hours. At the last chime of the hour we stand to pray. This makes every other chime of the day a reminder of the chapel prayer, and a call to prayer in the new moment.

Then, three times a day the Angelus rings across the acres, just to keep us at prayer in case we had forgotten. God again breaks into time. The Angelus prayer of the Incarnation holds us to this life-giving reality.

Today I went for a walk around the lake (forty-five minutes) and as I stopped to get a picture of the chapel in the distance across the lake I heard the chimes ring across the water. There is no place to hide from the reminder.

I fear that over these days, in the midst of activity and distractions, I may become immune to the chime. I pray this does not happen in my six weeks here. I need to keep hearing it. As I hear the ring I remember that here, a long way from home and friends and family, I am not alone. In these moments a deep sense of the reality of Jesus with me grows. In truth I can never be alone. I have the ultimate company.

A lot falls into perspective for me in these moments of remembering. If Jesus is really with me, why do I ever fear? Why do I ever worry? Why do I ever feel alone? How can I ever give in to anxiety?

The God of miracles is carrying me at every tick of the clock.

Thank God for the chimes that remind me.


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