Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.
What is hell? Hell is oneself.
Hell is alone, the other figures in it
Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from
And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.
- T. S. Eliot
|T. S. Eliot - local St. Louis boy makes good.|
Every other day so far we've been praying a decade of the Rosary and focusing on a virtue or a grace.
On the First Day of our Fifty Days of Prayer, we prayed the Immaculate Conception and reflected on the need to have an undivided heart, a pure heart; which, when seeking God in prayer conceives new life (Day 3, the Annunciation). This new life, even when hidden within us, touches something deep in our neighbors and brings to them a strange flutter of joy (Day 5, the Visitation).
And in the intervening days, we've been reflecting on the vices and the resistance within us that oppose these graces.
An Immaculate Heart of Purity is shattered by our tendency to Live the Lie (Day 2). The new life we would naturally receive as a gift from God in prayer we push away in our ongoing battle Against Nature (Day 4). We laugh at virgins having babies and demand just the opposite: that every woman should be a whore and never get pregnant.
Today I want to continue this pattern and reflect upon what is, in a sense, the opposite of the Visitation.
And that is isolation.
We live in an isolated age. And strangely, this is by choice.
Long ago, the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Micah and cursed those who turn from Him, saying ...
You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword. You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil on yourselves, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine. (Micah 6:14-15)
- We eat high calorie junk food, but we are never filled. Even our sweeteners are artificial and deliberately devoid of nutrition.
- We work two jobs to make lots of money, but that "credit" Capitol One offers makes us poorer still. The more we have, the more we owe, and usury, car payments and mortgages make us slaves in the suburbs.
- We sacrifice to educate our children, who grow up to reject their faith and who flaunt the ignorance the schools we've paid have drummed into their heads. The more we educate, the dumber they get.
- We have lots and lots and lots of sex, and no children, no grandchildren, nothing but our own selfish selves, and each new orgasm reminds us more and more that we are Onan, isolated and disconnected from any lover, indeed from any other person.
- We have developed the greatest transportation system known to man and we spend our time going nowhere.
- We work out and have excellent health care, and we are depressed and suicidal.
- We have the greatest works of literature and art and music available electronically at our fingertips, and we look at porn and kittens.
- We are the most affluent people that have ever lived, and we suffer from an incredible poverty of mind and soul - and more and more from a deep seated cruelty in our hearts.
There will come a time when the Isolation will be complete, a time when we will not be able to reach out, when one hidden life will no longer touch another hidden life, as at the Visitation, a time when we will not be able to be reached.
The Isolation will be complete. We will eat and not be satisfied. We will save but we will owe. We will pour out or seed and have nothing to show for it. Nothing will lead to nothing. The prophecy will be fulfilled.
And we will be in hell.
Let us pray.
To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.