Practice silence and be prepared for hell to break loose. UPDATE

Dr. Thomas Neal, who I introduced in this post, has a thought provoking post on cultivating silence.


“But more, silence that is pregnant with consent, with a receptivity that is not merely an absence of sound but presence to a Word.  Such silence permits God to heal my broken self, refashion my fallen ‘I’ and draw me into the safe refuge of his threefold communion of Persons.

Yet again, at what great risk God opened his own inner core to man!  What confidence this unimaginable display of divine vulnerability inspires in me to trust that he who is closer to me than I am to myself will never harm me, never betray me, but rather wishes only to Sup with me in the silence of love’s nuptial surrender.

All this to say, practice silence every day.  But be prepared: as soon as you resolve to begin, all hell will break loose to thwart you.

Come and dwell in me, O Lord, and in the silence, save me.” Read more…..

The lack of silence in our culture bothers me greatly. Since childhood noise tends to overwhelm me. Perhaps that is why I didn’t like music, especially rock, until my favorite deacon introduced me to classical music. Classical music, unlike any other genre, lifts my soul to a higher plane. Sometimes it points my soul to heaven’s gate.

In a previous post, where I whined about the absence of Holy Silence, I wrote:

In the Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis, a senior devil instructs his nephew, a devil in training, that noise is a powerful tool to keep people away from God:

“Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress. (Chapter 22)”

The Screwtape letters were published in 1942. Before televisions in every home, iPods, cell phones etc.

I would think that the research is complete. And the results implemented. The devils can sleep in even on Sunday morning.

“Come and dwell in me, O Lord, and in the silence, save me.”

The funny thing is that while silence comes naturally to me, prayer does not. There are many distractions in the silence. My thoughts. My worries, My not really wanting to hear what God has to say to me. Yeah. I know. It is all about me.

If  I still my heart and mind and let God in, I might have to submit and be transformed. God just might cure me of spiritual sloth once and for all.

And then all hell will surely break loose. Allowing God in can be very dangerous indeed.

St. Anthony the Abbot (and hermit), experienced hell in a very personal way.

“Anthony knew how difficult this was. Throughout his life he argued and literally wrestled with the devil. His first temptations to leave his ascetic life were arguments we would find hard to resist — anxiety about his sister, longings for his relatives, thoughts of how he could have used his property for good purposes, desire for power and money. When Anthony was able to resist him, the devil then tried flattery, telling Anthony how powerful Anthony was to beat him. Anthony relied on Jesus’ name to rid himself of the devil. It wasn’t the last time, though. One time, his bout with the devil left him so beaten, his friends thought he was dead and carried him to church. Anthony had a hard time accepting this. After one particular difficult struggle, he saw a light appearing in the tomb he lived in. Knowing it was God, Anthony called out, “Where were you when I needed you?” God answered, “I was here. I was watching your struggle. Because you didn’t give in, I will stay with you and protect you forever.”

Oh my. Perhaps the distractions that I experience in the silence are Satan’s attempt to keep me away from hearing the Word.  Well he has succeeded.

It is time to cry out to God for help.

“Come and dwell in me, O Lord, and in the silence, save me.”

UPDATE:  The Pope has published his prayer intentions for next year. (H/T Deacon Greg). For September:

That people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.

Okay. Two references in one day on silence. God, are you trying to get my attention?

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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1 Response to Practice silence and be prepared for hell to break loose. UPDATE

  1. Thank you for the information about St. Anthony the Abbot. I found something useful in it. God Bless


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