Note for the reader: The following is a letter from Screwtape, an administrative demon ensconced somewhere within the bureaucracy of Hell, to his nephew, Wormwood, a young and somewhat blundering demon assigned to a soul on Earth. With thanks and respect to C.S. Lewis.
My Dear Wormwood,
So your patient’s prayer life has deepened? Well, what did you expect to happen??? As your past letters show, you’ve been letting him spend more and more time in silence without doing a single unblessed thing. Dunderhead! I don’t know what to make of your generation. I imagine you slept right through most of How To Pray Poorly 101, didn’t you? Pay attention to what The Enemy’s people are saying. Take this one for example: “Without silence, there is neither rest nor serenity nor interior life… Silence and peace have one and the same heartbeat… Wonder, admiration, and silence function in tandem.” That prelate has really upset the applecart; if people start listening to what he’s saying, we’re in for some major setbacks. Get that through your thick metaphorical skull.
But don’t let it bother you too much. I was leafing through my old Auntie Grimplock’s cookbook last evening and was reminded of a favorite dish of mine, perfect for these summer months: Hot Dorito Water. Here’s the recipe:
- 8 oz. water
- 1 teabag chamomile tea
- 1 Party-Size bag of Doritos (Auntie Grimplock suggests Nacho Cheese, but when Gorbalder was over the other night I used the new Taco Explosion and quite liked it)
- Instructions: In a saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Pour over teabag (yes, in a cup, you fool) and let steep 2-4 minutes. As tea steeps, eat entire bag of Doritos. Do not share. When the tea has steeped, take a sip and enjoy the steaming hot taste of…Doritos. You’ll taste them all the way through to the end of the cup.
Do you see? What a man thinks about in the times outside of prayer will be brought into the time he wants to spend in prayer. If you eat a bag of Doritos and then take a sip of tea, you might want to taste chamomile, but all you’ll get is Taco Explosion. Likewise, if a woman spends the greater part of her day looking at, listening to, and scrolling through the maelstrom of fragmented images and sounds that abounds in this day and age, if and when she tries to spend some time in quiet with The Enemy, she’ll find it nigh impossible to rid herself of the taste of all that came before.
Get this under control. I recommend enticing your patient to buy a new phone with a bigger screen and a larger data plan.
Your affectionate uncle,
[Quotes from Robert Cardinal Sarah, The Power of Silence Against the Dictatorship of Noise, pp. 33-34.]
Image by Javier Garcia.