"Gnashing of Teeth"


#1

After witnessing a few gentle lambs being eaten alive in a lion’s den because they were “different,” my spirit writhed with the overpowering perception of evil that was demonstrated in that section. I took it to prayer asking God whether He was displeased with my reading this stuff, and I received the impression of “wailing and gnashing of teeth” that gave me a foretaste of what hell on earth can be like for many. This was an unusual thought received from prayer that I had never really considered in depth before.

Therefore, I searched to find out what God was trying to say to me. Here is one of the articles which gave me understanding of this exceptional wording.

In that great time of trouble there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth–bitter disappointment, great chagrin. The gnashing or gritting of teeth symbolically expresses the vexation and anger of those in whom the truth only awakens a spirit of opposition and hatred against the Lord’s messengers and against his plans which run counter to their prejudices, pride and plans. Those who have not the spirit of truth, will not, and do not meet the truth with candor and an earnest effort to prove what is truth and what is error. The truth they do not want, and even so much of it as they see, they endeavor to cover and hide; and their reasonings against it partake more of the nature of sarcasm, sophistry and enmity, than of sound scriptural reasonings.

In their fruitless efforts to substantiate errors which they have come to reverence and love, they will contradict each other’s arguments, as well as the arguments of their predecessors who helped to found or establish the errors. This, in the symbolic language of Revelation, is called “gnawing their tongues in pain.” All such opposition to the truth is the gnashing of teeth predicted; and we may expect to see more and more of it as the harvest work continues.

It quickly became apparent that I should definitely not under any circumstances engage in discussion with these wailers, for their minds are not open to truth, not even to defend the persons whom I saw being chewed up like raw meat. In God’s way, He will bring them this message and anoint their spirits with wisdom.

How easily discerned are those whose spirits are filled with bitter rancor and sarcasm, and are utterly bereft of the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit. Amen, if gnashing their teeth at others is their only preoccupation, they are already living a hell on earth.


#2

Prior to my conversion, I can definitely say that I experienced this “gnashing and grinding of teeth,” angry as I was because I was happily miserable, but more because God and religion had let me down so many times before – all those times I tried converting, making amends for my sins, attempting to avoid future occassions of sin…all for naught, it seemed. And so, when Our Blessed Mother saw the decrepit state of my soul, she beckoned me to pray, to say, “Forgive me,” or “Help” or “What next?” but I refused, and I cursed God! Oh, what horrible times those were! Truly, it was hell! I felt totally abandoned by all things, including myself, and I succumbed to despair.

Is it any wonder that I choose to focus on the light which the Resurrection brings?


#3

Maybe you might share how you do that Epistemes, what it means to you specifically to focus on the light which Resurrection brings. :confused:

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#4

I will try.

First, let me say that when it came time to renew my license plate for my car, I shamelessly bought one of those personalized license plates and it says “MK 16:9” –

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons.

Over Advent, I had the good fortune of watching a series of videos by Fr. Michael Himes, Professor at Boston College, discussing some of the central themes of Advent, such as the Second Coming, Time and Hope. On discussing hope, he says that hope does not equal optimism. If you’re unemployed but think that you will one day be able to find another job, then you are expressing optimism, not hope; or, if you are sick but think that you will be cured, again you are expressing optimism, not hope. Hope is a theological virtue because it is something which we, ourselves, are incapable of producing.

Anyone who has read many of my threads, who has witnessed by journey thus far, cannot help but see how crucified I’ve been, the weight of my crosses, etc. The weight of my cross prior to my conversion was immense! As I stated in my “Thank you – Happy 2009” thread, which I posted a couple days ago, I am shocked to find that I am still alive. Long ago I should’ve died from alcoholism, heart disease, or any number of traffic accidents. As Fr. Corapi said, ‘That’s *you *hanging on that cross!’

Yes, I am on that cross, and it is only the hope which God graciously instills in me from time to time that helps me to look beyond my weaknesses, my sins, my current sufferings, in order to look at the Glorious Mysteries: his Son has conquered death, now sits as at the right hand of God as Our Mediator, has given us his Spirit, in addition to his Most Blessed Mother to pray for us constantly.

Oftentimes the cross is a lot for me to bear, but more and more I am finding true comfort in the graces and mercy which await us beyond the grave. Nothing special, really…

**


#5

No need to apologize, Epistemes. Have you heard that there is more joy in heaven over one person who changes his life that for those who have no need of repentence? Well, consider it true that you have brought me very much joy – and I would believe that many others reading your witness are also rejoicing. For this kind of deviation or thread drift, I don’t ming a bit! :thumbsup:

Due to the cirumstances of the inspiration, I felt certain that God would touch many hearts here who needed to reflect on the words in my OP.

Carole


#6

#7

[quote=Brigid12]Yes, I have seen that, too. That doesn’t mean that your balanced, loving posts (as long as you are able to not become too embroiled with them) are not helpful, both to other posters, and also to “lurkers”. Please don’t stop posting in the “lion’s den” - they have even more need of Christ, who seems to be able to work through you. Please, don’t let some harshness dissuade or hurt you. You seem to have the strength that only He can give (and a lot of it, IMHO).
[/quote]

This is the loveliest and most encouraging message I’ve seen in many a day, Brigid. Compassion for “lurkers” has kept me going very often, yet without feedback from them, I that it was only my imagination that some of these people were helped. At what price, though?

I tried to remember scriptures WWJD, and it seemed to me that He did not customarily go into gatherings of those who were not able or ready to hear His words. Rather, the obstinate ones seemed more inclined to follow Him around with a smug motive of trapping Him, and were often mingled in the crowd where mostly ordinary people had an open heart and mind eager to listen to His teachings.

Discernment from the Spirit is essential, and I will truly weigh your advice and be open to God’s leading. I thought about St. Faustina’s incident where the Lord warned her not to speak with a certain sister. If I’m careful to listen to Him, much grief can be avoided.

Thank you ever so much for your heartening words!


#8

I found it helpful, Carole, thanks. What I found especially helpful was the idea of not having to answer the ‘wailers’, which is something I struggle with anyway, not being the most articulate person in the world. The fact that I am not supposed to answer such people is a help to know, especially just now.

I also liked Epistemes’ post on hope when contrasted with optimism. I think I fall down on the optimism front sometimes, though I have had the grace of hope given me when I needed it, especially when nearing despair.

I think recognising that God gives us the graces we need at the right moment is very liberating, as it helps us see that He is in control and our weaknesses are no obstacle to achieving the end He has in mind for us. I think it is a journey to ever deeper faith in His providence.

Thanks again :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=Nick9]I found it helpful, Carole, thanks. What I found especially helpful was the idea of not having to answer the ‘wailers’, which is something I struggle with anyway, not being the most articulate person in the world. The fact that I am not supposed to answer such people is a help to know, especially just now.
[/quote]

It is a real comfort and liberating freedom of spirit to realize that there are some persons whom God would prefer that we avoid - providing we do not despise them interiorly as we do so. Our thoughts are always before Him and we need to be careful.

I have thought about you so often Nick, especially wondering how your visit was to the Cistercians last fall. If you have a few moments, I’d love to hear about it.

Carole


#10

It must have been a nudge from my guardian angel asking you to pray for me! All has gone well, thanks, though I have had a few trials on the way. I am hoping to enter the monastery two weeks on Sunday (25th), becoming a postulant. I have received much grace to help me prepare for leaving, to counteract the obstacles. I will PM you with more details later. :slight_smile:


#11

In cleaning out very old private messages that I kept because of their encouragement, I found this one which fits the topic nicely. The quote is from St. Ambrose and it may be as helplful to some of you as it was for me when the member sent it. I’m just a little curious what St. Ambrose was dealing with, because he could not have been a member on the internet. :stuck_out_tongue:

To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous.

Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them to chew the cud of their hasty anger.

Carole


#12

I’ve had a similar experience in a particular section of this forum and, without having read St Ambrose, reached the point where I realised that for my own sake I just had to ignore certain members and avoid posting in particular threads.

For those who believe no explanation is necessary, for those who do not no explanation is enough.

Unfortunately I don’t know who said this, but it is insightful!


#13

Hello old friend :slight_smile:

This was such a good quote you provided:

[quote=Joysong]To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals, people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous.
[/quote]

The underlined parts particularily spoke to me. Speaking in a more general sense than the topic of this thread, it reminds me of how important it is to be ever vigilant in the practice of “silence to self.”

What I’ve come to realize is that any mental clinging - be it thoughts, feelings or emotions - that preoccupies us to the point that it hinders recollection, we enter into a spiritual danger zone. Contentious disscussions are particularily ripe for this for the obvious reason they inflame the passions. And experience has shown, at least for me :), that this is an interior fire hard to put out once started.

So it is very right to not reply to ourselves by taking refuge in interior silence the moment we become aware of a preoccupying pull toward a thought, feeling or emotion that unduly attracts us . . . lest that pull really take root in our souls by becoming a regular habit.

Recollection is our one true refuge . . . the “silent place” in which we can be healed of those ideas, thoughts, feelings etc that inflame us and do us so much harm. And the damage always seems to begin interiorly . . . long before our words and actions. So let Him heal us first before we speak or act by learning to be “silent to self.”

A little off topic perhaps, but you got me thinking :slight_smile:

Hope all is well,
Dave. :slight_smile:


#14

[quote=DBT]What I’ve come to realize is that any mental clinging - be it thoughts, feelings or emotions - that preoccupies us to the point that it hinders recollection, we enter into a spiritual danger zone. Contentious disscussions are particularily ripe for this for the obvious reason they inflame the passions. And experience has shown, at least for me , that this is an interior fire hard to put out once started.
[/quote]

Hi Dave,

The thoughts you shared are certainly on topic, I believe, for they steer us to the real purpose of silence; i.e., maintaining interior recollection. I was just telling another friend by email that I have become battle-scarred in my sleep due to recalling certain contentious posts and subconsciously trying to engage them. It sure was an “abrupt awakening.” :smiley:

King David inspired an outstanding example that impressed me when I read it, from the second book of Samuel, Ch. 7. "And it came to pass when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Do you see that I dwell in a house of cedar, and the ark of God is lodged within skins?”

David could not even consider building a temple for the Lord until he had ceased from all of his wars and obtained rest on every side from his enemies. The spiritual principle came through very strongly to me, that we cannot cultivate interior rest and expect the Lord to dwell in the temple of our spirits, as long as we are engaging in these battles. Why is it that I-we so often forget this? :frowning:

I should print this thread and save it in a document folder marked “Emergency First Aid!”

Carole


#15

I am cross-quoting from another thread. . .what Marie Veronica just posted is great stuff for an “Emergency First Aid” thread. :smiley:


#16

It’s not just you:)

Perhaps the single biggest spiritual problem I have is just what you describe . . . replaying old hurts and arguements out in my mind. Sometimes it gets to the point that recollection is all but impossible and it’s beyond my ability to stop. Sometimes, though, I purposely encourage it. :frowning:

No wonder I’m so drawn to St. John’s discussion of the purging of memory in “The Ascent.” But, as he says, much of this is beyond our ability to control . . . some of it must be cured passively. In the meantime, we turn away from the attractive pull of these impulses . . . again . . . and again . . . and again :slight_smile:

:amen:

And that’s why it’s so important to know that line in the sand where engaging thoughts/feelings/emotions (whether good or bad) hinders our recollection . . . the “one important thing.” For as you know, once we cross that line we’re in for a very trying time finding our way back to Him. :slight_smile:

Dave.


#17

Sidenote: You know how often St. John talks about the pain of “absence” . . . of Christ leaving us alone and to our own devices? For me, it’s the other way around: through these mental indulgences I become acutely aware it’s me who leaves Him.

Dave :slight_smile:


#18

Hi, Dave, What you said is very true.
Most time it is us who leaves Christ. We allow certain thoughts, complex, worries and anxieties alienate ourselves from the ever present God. I find it helpful to bring my negative emotion to the Lord, instead of being negative by myself. What I mean is to express my mental indulgences in front of Him.


#19

The reality is that all of us grind our teeth on occasion — when we are angry or anxious, for instance, or when our sleep is disturbed. But when we grind our teeth on a regular basis, we have a condition called bruxism (from the Greek bryx, meaning a “gnashing of the teeth”). Dental Website

People afflicted with Parkinson’s and those using certain medications will also gnash and/or clench their teeth. It is a disturbing sight to behold. Gnashing appears like part of a preoccupation or possession. It is almost like the result of steam escaping a steam engine. In a spiritual sense – gnashing is the result of opposition to God.

Setting biological reasons for gnashing aside - Hiding From Love by Dr. John Townsend explores the hiding patterns that people develop to deal with strong emotions. Everyone has a destructive pattern of some sort or another. Some have more negative patterns than others but we all have them and will hopefully expose them to the healing truth and love of God. Reading this book will help you understand the different patterns of hiding from love and how best to address them in ourselves and those we encounter day in and day out.


#20

Hi Inlight -

Following up on your comments, this little analogy came to me this morning that really helped me understand “how” our thoughts hinder recollection . . . that it’s us who leaves Him. At the risk of hogging up too much bandwidth, here it goes . . .


Many of us might have never thought of it like this but our souls (until perfected) are in a state of perpetual civil war. Our memories are unruly beasts that continually throw mud on the walls of our minds just hoping something will stick . . . to catch the attention of our will.

Or to put it another way, it’s like a little boy walking to school casually kicking stones until he happens to spy an especially shiny little rock. He says to himself “Wow, look at that! I must have one of those.” So he reaches down to pick up the rock . . .

. . . and then he’s toast. :slight_smile:

The memory says “Ah, I see what you like. Now you’re all mine.” Meanwhile the will, who was quietly kneeling in silent adoration before the Lord his maker, has his gaze interrupted by a barrage of little pebbles hitting him in the back of the head. The will says “What’s going on? All I did was pick up that shiny little rock!” And the will does an about face to turn and face this unexpected onslaught from the memory.

Now the will is faced with a choice: he can practice virtue or vice in the face of this attack. But even if he chooses to raise his hand to block the stones the memory is throwing at him, he soon grows weak from the continual barrage.

You see, the will is not as strong as he supposed - nor does he have the ability of the Saints to multi-task: facing his Lord in silent adoration while quietly brushing aside what should be nothing more than little flies.

No, the will grows weary and begins to fade. And soon he cries uncle. There’s nothing more the will can do than patiently wait until this storm passes. Then, and only then, can the will return his gaze to the Lord.

And the memory will regroup and slowly start throwing mud against the walls of our mind again - waiting for new something to stick.

And the cycle repeats itself.

So there it is as best I can describe it. Moral of the story: don’t pick up shiny rocks. :slight_smile:


Now, returning to the theme of this thread . . . why are contentious discussions perhaps the most harmful of all the shiny rocks we come across each day? Because practicing self-denial in the face of them is especially difficult. It’s one thing for us to say no to eating that candy bar that entices us; it’s another thing to deny our opinions, preferences, ideas and beliefs. The former is exterior; the latter is interior. So with contentious arguments, what’s really under attack is our concept of our very selves.

Moral of that story: Silence to self. :slight_smile:

Dave


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