I have a different way of spending Holy Week this year. Apart from the yearly Palm Sunday recollection at the Meralco Theater with mom and dad, I’ve decided to read
buy C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.
I know it’s been around in the shelves of Powerbooks for a long time already. I also wonder why it’s only now that I’ve gotten myself a copy (perhaps of the price hehe). I’d like to believe that the landing of its pages into my hands are simply timely.
Screwtape is a top-notch tempter supposedly holding a high position in the kingdom of Hell. He is writing to his nephew (a junior tempter), Wormwood whose mission (or patient) is a young English man.
I don’t know if it’s my poor reading comprehension, but to admit with honesty I grew quite uncomfortable with how it was written. Sentence construction is British-English like. It’s not the regular American phrasing I’ve grown accustomed to. And my, the passive voice is the predominant style!
Before I opened the first pages, I had this preconceived notion that it’s gonna talk about the ways by which the devil tempts us. This hypothesis is proven right – only that it’s not as simple as I thought. I can’t seem to understand why reviewers tell it’s a pleasure read, when actually I found it more for intellectual reading. I experienced repeating the sentences again and again because I had to grasp what Screwtape is trying to mean when he says, “Human beings do not desire what they are supposed to. There’s such a thing as getting more than what they bargained for!”
I’m roughly at the middle of the series of Screwtape’s letter to his nephew. His thoughts (if indeed proven factual) are eye-openers for the Christian. I remember this line,
“It’s funny that human beings think that we put thoughts into their mind. What they do not know is that we simply keep things out.”
To deduce an insight from that,it makes me reflect if I am satisfying the devil lurking around me through my own thoughts. It seems that they are simply making use of our selfish, worldy thoughts, then encourage that line of thinking. And you know how this affected me? I’d have to watch out for every thought that comes into mind. Torture. I wonder if God desires people to live in constant fear that they may be entertaining the whispers of the demon. I doubt.
And one more, one letter says that regardless of the sincerity of the repentance, if it does not translate into action, we (the devils) do not have anything to worry about. Ugh. Poor human beings. I don’t need to ask how often we stumble over the same sin. This read is both a revelation and a cause of that lack of peace of mind, at some level – or probably guilt. I guess discovering the weak part of you that always gets tempted is ugly yet valuable at the same time.
With all these, I realized that the power to choose good or bad are still precisely in our hands. God cannot tempt to virtue as the devil to vice. As they say God can never mess up with free will. Our hope is on the loving assurance that His grace is immense and ever-flowing is nothing short of the truth.