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Lenten Reading Essay

1853 words - 8 pages

For my Lenten spiritual reading, I chose to read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This book is about a junior demon, named Wormwood, who is learning how to tempt his “patient” and capture his soul, and is mentored by his uncle, a senior demon named Screwtape. Throughout the novel, Screwtape instructs his nephew how to exploit vices and how to how to twist his values so he will stray from god and into damnation. I initially chose this book because I liked the author, and because I’ve been told the book was a good read.
The subject of this novel is the senior demon instructing the junior demon, a tempter in training, on how to capture the man’s soul by using routine temptations of daily ...view middle of the document...

He is also instructed to exploit war, for it is a perfect opportunity for an attack on his faith. We are also told that demons have the ability to change form, and conceal themselves. It Is stated that advantage the demons have over God, is that God cant tempt us with virtues like demons temp us with vice, but yet God I even pleased when we stumble on the path to holiness. The patient is lead to desire sensual pleasures (mainly sex or eating to excess) during periods of boredom, and to believe his faith was just a “phase” in his life. He also is to make his patient to feel an undercurrent of self-satisfaction, instead of shame, when he sins. The patient is influenced to dislike his religious duties, such as prayer, and is often lead to waste time to distract him from prayer, and that everything he does is separate from God. We are told that the road to hell is a gradual and gentle slope, without turning, milestones, or signposts. Grace and reconciliation is described as a defeat of the demon’s “first order”, which is never fully described. Some humans are described as “inaccessible” to demons, and are Gods weapon against the demons. The patient becomes humble, and is encouraged by his uncle to make him feel proud about it, thus defeating the virtue and causing a vice. God is described to really love us, and “always gives us back with his right hand what he has taken with his left. Wormwood is encouraged to stimulate the patient’s sense of “tortured fear” and “stupid confidence”, trying to undermine his sense of self esteem and confidence. He is also told that the demon’s goal is for sin to become a habit, and continue through the future. We are also told that men are willing to do anything to obtain heaven or hell. The demon is told to influence them man to become violently attached to a party within the church, to lead him to opposing church practices, like holy communion vs. mass, or genuflecting or not. He is explained “Gluttony of Delicacy” instead of excess, because is seems to be believed as temperance, and is to keep the patient into a condition of false spirituality. He also gives the man the idea that “being in love” is the only respectable ground for marriage, and that mere copulation makes “one flesh”, not marriage, because humans are to be encouraged to regard marriage as highly colored, and to distort the vision that god really promises as it’s result. He is also to encourage him the impression that marriage and love can be held as an excuse a man from guilt surrounding sensual pleasures (sex), and protect him from its consequences. The demons believe that God’s love to humans is a disguise for some secret, a secret his throne depends on. They also know that the patient is ALWAYS moving toward God, or towards them. His next lesson is how they have achieved the distortion of humans. They have mad women fear aging, and using unrealistic portrayals of women’s bodies, to make them feel self conscious and lose their esteem, but also...

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