Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hellish Silence

In darker moments I have thought about inviting people who are unlikely to get on to a dinner party, supplying an excess of potent wine and sharpened cutlery and leaving them to it, coming back only to count the corpses and mop up the blood. In reality such an event will only result in a tense grating silence.

My vision of hell is not of demons with pitch forks and red hot pokers but that silence, the type of silence that is so heavy that a second seems like a year. I know people who have given up prayer because the silence is so tense, so painful, so hard to bear. I suspect this maybe because once they felt they had experienced such intensity and rapture of God's presence, that now all silence is an empty barren desert.


Elizabeth said...

I think when Hell is mentioned St Faustina's vision is all that we need to remind us of our 'worse nightmare'.
Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one's condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it-a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God's anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like.

I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence.

Malcolm Kemp said...

People are terrified of silence. Hence, frequently, prayer becomes a monologue rather than a dialogue. Perhaps I am strange, especially as a musician who lives alone, but I love silence and find it so comforting. Sometimes during periods of silence we discover things about ourselves that we really don't like but there's no gain without paid, as they say. I hate dinner parties anyway, whoever is there, so perhaps I am even more strange!

pelerin said...

Like Malcolm Kemp I too find much benefit in silence and feel sorry for those who cannot bear it such as those people mentioned by Fr Ray who have given up prayer because they find silence too painful.

I think I can understand them though as for some time after the death of my husband I could not stand silence. I had to have either the radio or the television on all the time. Perhaps I could not bear to be with my thoughts at that very painful time and yes prayer was difficult.

Silence is so rare today. You settle down on a train with a newspaper or good book and what happens? Loud conversations on mobiles start up. You drop off to sleep only to be woken by the beat of a neighbour's loud stereo. You go into your garden on a hot summer's day, settle down with your thoughts and a window opens letting out loud tuneless pop music. There is no escape.

Many years ago my husband and I lived opposite a pub and on one hot summer's night all the windows were open there. There was much singing as we tried to get to sleep and eventually we dissolved into laughter as we heard the song 'Silence is Golden' being sung at the tops of their very merry voices!

Silence is indeed golden and sadly so rare today.

old believer said...

Good dinner parties don't work like that. The art of the host is to have guests with opposing views and start a conversation on the lines " 'A' I understand you don't agree with 'B' about xyz?" Then turn to 'B' and do the same. After that invite 'C' to appraise both 'A' and 'B' and so on.

Of course it may be best not to have sharp knives on the table...

Elizabeth said...

I love to be in Church in front of the tabernacle in total silence. The low latin Mass is also so quiet. There is something very spiritual about silence. It is so rare to be in a silent environment as everywhere you go there is noise. I would think that during prayer silence is a time to listen to God or just reflect, as long as your mind is not allowed to wander.

Be Still and know I am God.

Malcolm Kemp said...

Elizabeth - I agree with you totally. Perhaps a wondering mind is sometimes part of God's way of talking to us - directing our thoughts in a particular way - and we can turn it into a prayer or subject for prayer?

I have written elsewhere how those of us - like me - who are involved in the stage management/production side of liturgy (for want of better terminology)are in particular need of quiet said services where we are able to "be still and know" rather than think about what happens next. I am sure Fr Ray will agree.

gemoftheocean said...

well, don't just sit there, invite Nickbris and me to dinner the same night!!! :-D

You are truly EVIL. [I say that in a *good* way. You are the kind of guy who would rent a bank safe deposit box under an assumed name and leave a dead fish in it. that's why I like you so much.]

Actually, William F. Gaines, used to hold office parties for Christmas. And invite all the people he couldn't stand. {WFG was the founder of MAD Magazine}

He'd invite people to his Manhattan digs, he'd serve stale ritz crackers with a melange of dried bubble gum and cigarette ashes on them. Then he'd also get a bunch of cheap wine and "decant" the bottles [as much as el dago red at 79 cents a pop can be said to be decanted] and serve that in glasses where the rims were cut.

He'd hire a teen age thug to man his bathroom the whole time and offter the "guest" a towel "do youse want a clean towel" of course the kid looked like a hell's angel in search of his first killing victim for his gang initiation. He'd throw the party late december and leave all the widows open so it was freezing.

He gave these parties for about 10 years, but quit when it got too expense. 70some bucks for the whole party to entertain his "guests."