From time to time the Lord gives me the grace of entering on YOU TUBE, precisely on St. Peter Basilica ROME – All Bells Full Peal PLENUM. Sometimes I had the joy of playing the magnificent clip on the bells of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome near patients and their relatives who wanted me to do this at the hospital.
But why church bells are so powerful? What is special about them? It is a known fact that church bells carry an enormous spiritual power which many of us not even think of. In fact, when a church bell is instituted it is officially “baptized” or “consecrated” by either the bishop or the priest. Bells are blessed with holy water and given a name after a saint. Luckily and joyfully many of them are named after God’s and Our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Roman Ritual gives us a very solemn blessing of church bells. It takes time to explain to us the spiritual symbolism as well as the sacramental power which these bells, once they are consecrated, can in reality have.
God, who decreed through blessed Moses, your servant and lawgiver, that silver trumpets should be made and be sounded at the time of sacrifice, in order to remind the people by their clear tones to prepare for your worship and to assemble for its celebration. Grant, we pray, that this bell, destined for your holy Church, may be hallowed by the Holy Spirit through our lowly ministry, so that when it is tolled and rung the faithful may be invited to the house of God and to the everlasting recompense. Let the people’s faith and piety wax stronger whenever they hear its melodious peals. At its sound let all evil spirits be driven afar; let thunder and lightning, hail and storm be banished; let the power of your hand put down the evil powers of the air, causing them to tremble at the sound of this bell, and to flee at the sight of the holy cross engraved thereon. May our Lord Himself grant this, who overcame death on the gibbet of the cross, and who now reigns in the glory of God the Father, in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.
It is interesting that the priest himself in this prayer invokes God’s power to cast away evil spirits and thunder … lightning, hail and storm thanks to these bells’ sound. The blessing goes on with a final prayer that once more remembers the spiritual weight the bells are being bestowed with.
O Christ, the almighty ruler, as you once calmed the storm at sea when awakened in the boat from the sleep of your human nature, so now come with your benign help to the needs of your people, and pour out on this bell the dew of the Holy Spirit. Whenever it rings may the enemy of the good take flight, the Christian people hear the call to faith, the empire of Satan be terrified, your people be strengthened as they are called together in the Lord, and may the Holy Spirit be with them as He delighted to be with David when he played his harp. And as onetime thunder in the air frightened away a throng of enemies, while Samuel slew an unweaned lamb as a holocaust to the eternal King, so when the peal of this bell resounds in the clouds may a legion of angels stand watch over the assembly of your Church, the first-fruits of the faithful, and afford your ever-abiding protection to them in body and spirit. We ask this through you, Jesus Christ, who live and reign with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
In the last phrase the priest prays that when the peal of this bell resounds in the clouds may a legion of angels stand watch over the assembly of your Church. Thus, these church bells are the more special! Therefore, when you hear church bells while thanking Our Lord since you receive countless blessings in your life through them tell Him: Lord I surrender myself to you! Take care of everything! Jesus I trust in you! Amen.
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap