Jul 19, 2011

The Screwtape Letters (part V)

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. .It is far better to make them live in the Future....Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear.

Hope and fear. That is what brought about the most pro-choice and anti-American president this nation has ever had.....at least for those whom were really concerned voters and not just those cultural voters who wanted to be a part of history and be able to say "I helped elect the 1st African American president".

Hope is good if it is used in the framework of Christianity. Faith, hope and love; the theological virtues.   Hope is bad if it based solely upon man's own doings. I think many people are feeling the sting of this principle after the last presidential election.
They were promised false hopes, then when their hopes were dashed, they were more anxious and hopeless about the future than ever.

The forces of evil know mankind's weak nature and uses it against us. We have reasons to hope and reasons to fear; both rational and irrational.
The Holy Spirit was sent to us to guide us, to help us discern these matters so we may be rational people making rational decisions.
Hope in the Lord and you can never go wrong.

If (or should I say when) we make mistakes, we should not dwell on them. We can learn from them, but not despair from them.

16)  Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.

This sounds very familiar.
Ever since some of Jesus's disciples departed from Him during His "bread of life" discourse (John 6;66) and    the jealousy and rivalry of the followers of St.Paul and Apollos, there has been nomadic Catholics (or cafeteria Catholics) that only like to follow certain priests or teachings.
Granted, there are some priests that are more pious or traditional, or are better homeliest than others. I myself prefer "old school", in your face, teachers of the faith. BUT, we cannot forget the real reason for attending Mass. The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. No matter how bad the homily is, no matter how wishy-washy Father may be; no matter how bad you think the idea's of your parish council may be,
we still can receive all the graces of Mass and the Eucharist.
There are many, many other issues that I could mention concerning the weaknesses of mankind, but the teachings of the Church has never wavered. That fact is what should bring unity among us all and encourage us all to take our faith and our Church more seriously.
As Archbishop Sheen wrote in "Life of Christ".....
"How holy must the Church be before you will enter into it?"

17) The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great, achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess.

At first this seemed strange to me. I always thought of gluttony as excess...eating or drinking too much or hording. After reading this chapter though, I realized that I have seen gluttony of delicacy in my own life and that of others.

I am not sure if I can do this subject justice, so please read this chapter in full to better understand.
Sometimes it's not the quantity we want, but just getting things OUR way.
I call that the Burger King lifestyle....have it YOUR way as their slogan goes.
It's really just the same issue as normal in our society...relativism...it's all about YOU and YOUR way of thinking, YOUR choice.--------Gluttony of yourself.

The other thing I noticed that satan is secretly doing here, is getting us to think we are doing good, but we are really damaging our souls in another way. It is like looking directly at the sun; you can see it's radiance and beauty, but secretly you are damaging your eyes.
We may think we are sinless, but in reality, we may be committing a larger sin.
....or as Screwtape puts it--"keep your man in a condition of false spirituality".
I find this as one of the most common fallacies in Christianity; to think that just because you go to church, or just because you are a "good person", you are in good standing with the Lord.
If you are comparing your "goodness" to that of other people in the world, you are putting your soul in great jeopardy. You should be comparing, or should I say, striving to achieve the goodness of Jesus, imitating Him and conforming your will to His.

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