#ProwlingLion · Bible Study · Church of England · Felixstowe · Growing in God · Lent · poem · Prayer · Screwtape

Resisting the Prowling Lion – Day 31

Resisting the Prowling Lion – 40 Days with Screwtape

Day 31 – Wednesday after 5th Sunday of Lent

To Read:

From The Screwtape Letters:

Screwtape, a senior demon, is offering advice to Wormwood his nephew, an apprentice demon.  The language he uses is ‘upside down’ referring to God as ‘the Enemy’ and the devil as ‘Our Father Below’.


Music and silence – how I detest them both!   How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell – though longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express – no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise – Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile – 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.

Your affectionate uncle


To Reflect:

Sister Stella-Mary OHP, sometime sister in charge of St Benedict’s House in Johannesburg, once commented, as she caught me whistling in the cloisters, that I was not really made for the contemplative’s life of silence.  I suspect she was probably correct 

Not that I do not enjoy silence – there are times (especially when on Holy Island or the Isle of Bute) that I run to it and hide within it, but I also enjoy music a great deal.   These two poles of life, music and silence, are understandably detested by Screwtape.  Both are ways in which we hear the love song of The Beloved.

Silence is not simply an absence of sound; it is full of the richness of the soul turning towards God.  Some words from the excellent TV programme ‘Call the Midwife’ demonstrate this.   The nuns and nurses at Nonnatus House are stitching together knitted wool squares to make a blanket as a comforter for one of their number who is dangerously ill:

‘Throughout that endless day and night as we waited for news that didn’t come.  It seemed we had never been closer, never more subsumed into a single task.  Many find the concept of holy silence puzzling but as we worked and prayed there was no need to speak at all…..’ (Call the Midwife – Series 2, Episode 8)

Perhaps this is the meaning of that strange phrase in one of the Eucharistic Prayers from Common Worship, all your works echo the silent music of your praise.’?  Silence, lived and felt well, is not emptiness; it is the musical accompaniment to the whispers of God’s love.

Music too, proclaims that same love.  I maintain frequently on my daily Pause for Thought slot in Rob Dunger’s show on Felixstowe Radio that all songs are love songs.  Whenever we sing, we love.  Which is why music is a cacophony to the devil.  

Good Friday in our house is a wonderful mélange of silence and music.  After the silent vigil of Maundy Thursday night comes a time of praise and prayer and worship with fellow Christians in the centre of our town.  Then an hour of contemplation and few words ‘At the Foot of the Cross’ and often a choral cantata in the evening.  A day spent listening to God say ‘I Love You’ in silence and words and music.  Rich food indeed!

This is disastrous for Screwtape.  He doesn’t want silence or music – he just wants ‘noise’.  Like the squeaks and squeals produced by an ancient wireless as its valves warm up and struggle to tune in to a radio station, demons want our lives filled with nothing intelligible.  If we have true silence we can hear God’s whispers more clearly, if there is rich music the Beloved’s song of love fills our hearts to overflowing.

Our task, as we come closer to the Friday Noon of the outpouring of His love, is to turn away from the noise and static of the world and tune in to His voice be it in the sweet silence of an hour’s quiet or the aching melody of ‘A Solemn Musick’  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlMohFNPaag

To Do:

Make plans for a Holy Week which excludes ‘noise’ yet includes definite time for both silence and music.

If you are looking for music try Parry’s ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ or ‘Messiah’ by Handel.

If you find making the space for silence difficult try the DVD ‘Into Great Silence’. 

If you cannot buy your own copy it may be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI1w1DDdH1I

A Psalm To Ponder:


Refrain:        Praise to the Creator of harmony In the music of silence and sound.

We praise you, O God, holy and beloved!

We praise you for your glory and wisdom!

We praise you for your creative power!

We praise you for your deeds of deliverance!     Refrain:

We praise you in a glorious symphony!

We praise you on the flute and harp!

We praise you with the caress of the trumpet!

We praise you with the solace of the cello!     Refrain:

We praise you for the quickening horn!

We praise you on the strumming guitar!

We praise you with the pipes of the clans!

We praise you on the deep resounding drums!     Refrain:

We praise you in the unnoticed pauses 

that make music of disordered sounds!

We praise you in the depths of the silence, 

in the music of the dance between eyes that love!     Refrain:

We praise you for all your gifts!

We praise you for your mysterious being!

We praise you for weaving us together!

We praise you that we belong to the universe!    Refrain:

Let everything that breathes under the sun, 

let the voices of the ancestors of old, 

let worlds unknown, within and beyond, 

all on this glad day give you praise!

In the music that is wrought from the silence 

in the silence where we hear the quietest of echoes, 

we worship the God of justice and peace, 

we praise the God of freedom and joy, 

we adore the God of love and new life, 

we bless the God of reconciliation and healing, 

we glorify the God of harmony and bliss.

We add our voice to the music of God; 

we fall silent in the presence of Mystery, 

in wonder and awe and love, 

the Mystery that is the Source of our being 

and the God of our longing, 

beautiful, utterly holy, glorious light, 

unbounded love. Alleluia!  Alleluia!   AMEN.     (Jim Cotter)


Please Note:  These reflections are also published on my blog: suffolkvicarhomes.com on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin

If you would like them as a daily email please send a request to vicar@felixparish.com


Quotes from The Screwtape Letters are copyright © 1942 C.S. Lewis Pte

Prayers from Psalms for a Pilgrim People are copyright © 1989, 1991, 1993 Jim Cotter

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

These Reflections,  ‘Resisting the Prowling Lion’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2023

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s