‘Silence’ Category Archives


“LOCKED-IN SYNDROME”: the science and the spirituality.

by Arnold Jago in Abortion, Health, Recent Developments, Science, Silence, Suffering, Truth

Locked-in syndrome is where a patient has mental awareness but, due to nervous system disease, is physically paralysed from the eyelids down.
In some cases the eyelids don’t work either.
By using non-invasive computer interface technology, which detects changes of oxygen levels in brain tissue, even the worst cases can now be communicated with….
…including asking them whether they are happy.
Interestingly, most of them say they are happy with their lives.
We might have expected them to be very frustrated.
But they aren’t.
It makes you ask yourself what “happy” really means.
Apparently it doesn’t necessarily mean getting everything you want.
Or fulfilling yourself by “following your dreams etc.”
Locked-in patients stay happy by adapting themselves – not to their dreams – but to reality here and now.
It’s what you might call accepting God’s will.
We aren’t going to understand God, but we can learn to trust him….
Here’s a video made by the daughter of a Rabbi who has experienced the condition:

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FORTHCOMING SCORSESE FILM “SILENCE”: has it got anything to say about real life?

by Arnold Jago in Celebrities, Death, Entertainment, Faith, Silence

The long-awaited film “Silence” is planned for release in December 2016.
Producer, Martin Scorsese, has been considering making it since about 1991. Based on the book “Silence” by Japanese author, Endo, it’s about Christian missionaries persecuted in Japan in the 1600s.
One priest is threatened with torture and death if he doesn’t abandon the faith – so he abandons the faith.
That’s about it.
The theme is why God is (or seems) silent when we need him most.
Is not the key to relating to the silent God, to make silence (praying in silence) central in our life – educating ourselves in it, daily, hourly, minutely?
Silence isn’t just absent sound. It’s something present that you can hear and come to recognise.
Today’s lifestyle makes silence unfamiliar.
Electronic communications make us afraid of silence — preferring hollow, futile, empty noise.
Unlearning that, can we become integrated children of God, cheerfully indifferent to whether we suffer or not?


SILENCE IS GOLDEN: spiritual silence is even better

by Arnold Jago in Lifestyle, Money, Prayer, Saints, Silence

General Motors put their latest car — the new Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid — on the American market in December 2013.

It goes 50-odd km before its 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery goes flat.

One attraction is its silence – silence maximised by features like extra thick window glass, sound-damping insulation etc.

The ELR costs $78,000.

Noise pollution is something people will pay to avoid.

* * *

Noise stops you thinking properly.

Supermarket music helps you to buy things which a little silent thought might lead you to leave on the shelf.

But isn’t the most distracting noise of all the “noise” we create inside our own heads — broodings regarding money, popularity, power etc?

Saint Mary MacKillop loved to spend time in silence with God.

She was a woman of action — yes, but to her, activity was a “less agreeable duty” which mustn’t interfere with her primary interest, the contemplation of God.

When too preoccupied to stop her worldly duties, she tried to make all her life, even when most busy, a prayer.

She wrote to Father Woods, “God’s presence seems to follow me everywhere and make everything I do or wish to do a prayer . . . .





by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Lifestyle, Silence

500-odd years ago, Saint John of the Cross spelt out a kind of three-step formula for improving oneself spiritually:
“Ignoring the imperfections of others, preserving silence, and continual communion with God . . . will eradicate the imperfections from one’s own soul.”

[1] Step one is straightforward enough.
Just make yourself not do it.
Otherwise your desire to improve is a fake.

[2] Now for the second step.
Silence is central to everything else.
Set aside times for entering into your private thoughts in complete silence.
Spend that silence as though only God and yourself exist.

(Silence is not simply an absence of sound. Silence is something you can actually hear and learn to recognise.
Silence is a positive thing.
A gift. You must wait for God to give it to you.
He will, in his own time. Be patient, detached, docile, trusting.
To get started, try reading a few lines from the Bible or a book of devotions like “The Imitation of Christ”.
We tend to assume that God cannot be seen, heard or felt. But is that strictly true?
Might our minds have a faculty designed specifically for contact with God — shrivelled perhaps from disuse but, like a disused muscle, able to respond to training, to practice?)

[3] God wants you to know him.
To have continual communion with him.
He loves you.
He comes more than halfway to meet you.


EARTH HOUR DAY: some positive and negative thoughts.

by Arnold Jago in Contemplation, Environment, Politics, Prayer, Science, Silence

Today has been declared “Earth Hour Day”.

You are requested to turn off your lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm as a symbolic act declaring your support for creating a cleaner, better, more just future.

Based, they say, on combating human-caused climate change.

Nothing wrong with turning off the lights for an hour.

You can say your prayers just as well in the dark.

Better, perhaps, as there will be fewer visible distractions.

For many people it is probably a long time since they last gave an hour to contemplating God.

Or spending an hour in any kind of quiet, reflective frame of mind.

* * *

So the idea of a quiet hour of solitude in the dark is a good one.

But best find a different time to do it. Not tonight.

The 31 March Earth Hour is supported by activists like Julia Gillard, the World Wildlife Fund and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

That is a big worry.

These people don’t just want you to turn off your lights — they have policies in mind that will mean there are no lights to turn on.

They want to phase out coal-burning energy sources.

They make claims about the capabilities of solar energy, wind-energy and so forth which, at this stage of history, are pure imagination.

* * *

To sum up, common sense suggests that we all switch our lights off regularly for the good of our mental and spiritual health.

But make sure they are ON this evening between 8.30 and 9.30.



by Arnold Jago in Media, Prayer, Silence

The other day I visited an elderly couple.

They were watching television — a tennis match between Serena Williams and Ekaterina Makarova.

They wanted me to watch with them, so I did, for about ten minutes.

A few minutes can’t do much harm, I thought.

I don’t know if you’ve watched television lately.

I was amazed.

It was nothing like I remembered it – the screen perhaps ten times the size I had been used to — the clearness almost overpowering.

You could almost count the players’ hair follicles.

* * *

A persuasive, potent, compelling weapon — especially if directed at those who can’t or don’t read much.

Even the most appalling behaviour and ideas could be made to seem tolerable.

And viewers rendered even less likely to find the motivation to spend generous time with God.

* * *

How much more meaningful our lives could be if we found even small periods of time for silence and reflection . . . .

Would we not, then, experience what Saint Mary MacKillop described, “God’s presence seems to follow me everywhere and make everything I do, or wish to do, a prayer . . . .”