Pull The Bell Often

A pioneer in the field of dream analysis, Carl Gustav Jung (died in 1961) was one of the founding fathers of modern psychology. One day, a clergyman went to see him because he was on the verge of breakdown. He had been working on a fourteen hour schedule and his nerves were frayed. Ascertaining that he wanted to get well, Dr. Jung gave him a simple and inexpensive prescription. He was to work just eight hours a day and sleep eight. The remaining hours he was to spend all alone in his study, quiet. This seemed easy enough and the minister agreed to try it hoping that this tension would be relieved.

He immediately started the new regime – eight hours work, eight hours sleep, eight hours alone. When he was alone, he read classical novels and listened to classical music like Mozart and Chopin. After one week he went to see again Dr. Jung, who carefully inquired about how he had followed instructions and see what he had done.

“But you did not understand!” Dr. Jung remarked straight away. “When you were on your own, I did not want you to spend time with big authors or big musicians. I just wanted you to be alone with yourself!” At this, the minister looked terrified and gasped, “Oh, but I cannot think of any worse company!” To this Dr. Jung made the famous reply (it had been repeated many times), “And yet this is the self you inflict on other people fourteen hours a day!”

If we are too busy, maybe we are just fleeing from ourselves. And if this is the case, then the probabilities are that we do not even notice the mischief our inner demons cause to others!

There is simply no better way to keep ourselves distant from others, even those who are most close to us, than by never having time for them because we are too busy. Busy is not of the devil; it is the devil!

Same thing in our relationship with God. There is simply no better way to keep ourselves out of connection with God than by simply having no time for Him. No prayer. No meditation. No quiet time with God. In her enviable way to make everything simple, Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “The fruit of prayer is a deepening of faith. And the fruit of faith is love. And the fruit of love is service.”

And then she adds, “But to be able to pray we need silence, the silence of the heart. The soul needs time to go away and pray – to use the mouth, to use the eyes, to use the whole body. And if we don’t have that silence we do not know how to pray.” And if we do not pray, we shall never understand anything!

I just found this old scrap of newspaper stacked in a book, which had this quote from Spurgeon (a prolific Baptist preacher and author), “Prayer pulls the robe below, and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so lethargically, others give but an occasional pluck at the rope, but he who wins heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his strength!” Do it!


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.