An outstanding article on the wiles of the devil and beating him at his own game.
Fr. Longenecker really gets it right with lessons learned from C.S.Lewis.
Lewis does not apologize for the fact that The Screwtape Letters is an entertaining and amusing read. Indeed in the opening pages he quotes Martin Luther and St. Thomas More on the need to take Lucifer lightly. Luther says, “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.” For his part, St. Thomas More writes, “The devil…that proud spirit…cannot endure to be mocked.”...
What I learned by writing The Gargoyle Code was that Luther and St. Thomas More were right. One of the best ways to battle against the devil is to mock him. What impressed me more is that mockery is the best pitchfork to pitch against him, as opposed to the dreadful seriousness with which I sometimes engaged in arguing with the enemies of the Christian faith.
From time to time on my blog I would allow myself to be involved in debates with atheists, homosexual activists, feminists, or ideologues of some other sort. What I discovered is that they had no sense of humor and no sense of humility. Their mood was one of unremitting, serious self-righteousness. This mood would usually be expressed in a style of assumed kindness, “deep concern,” and a kind of faux wisdom that was at once patronizing and nauseating in its artificial charitableness.
I realized that this was the serpent of Eden speaking today. Satan always speaks with the same calm reasonableness, the sweet seeming sensibleness of utilitarianism combined with compromise for a good cause and yielding for what seems to be a worthy reason. It was impossible to counter the debaters in any way. Make an inescapably rational point, and they changed the subject. Skewer them with an argument, and they squirmed away. Try to catch them with something called evidence, and they slithered away with yet another statement of their point with an incredible obstinacy.
In the end the only weapon was a joke. If you poked fun at them, their smooth facade crumbled. If you made light of their solemnity and self-righteousness, they began to steam. If you jousted with a jest, they finally showed the rage that had been lurking underneath the whole time. Mirth did not bring them down to earth. Their gravity would not endure an ounce of levity.
C.S. Lewis knew the devil well. I always meant to find more biographical info on Lewis but never seem to have the time. That guy had some serious insight to spiritual warfare in the mystical world. You knew he had more than a few trips.
When you put yourself into the public square, teaching role, a vocation or avocation involving the salvation of souls, you get than your fair share.
I had a row with one a few weeks back in my comments section. Charitable at first, the individual turned out to have the pins for Cardinal Burke. I sucker punched her a few times and out came a ravenous wolf. When I refused to publish her defense, she sent comments for days indicating she was wrapped around her own wheels of rage going 80 miles an hour. Very entertaining.
A real amateur. They can usually get a few more steps ahead of me before I listen to my gut.
Lent is not only the season to do good works, but it is also a holy season to engage in battle with the forces of darkness. Laughing at Lucifer in Lent is one of the ways to do so. Jeering and flouting him means that we are happy warriors. We are launching out on the spiritual battle with a spring in our step and a smile on our face.
A great idea. Maybe we should have a refresher course during Lent on our invisible friends and enemies here at TTC during Lent.
It's always good to keep in mind the devil's playground is thoughts and emotions. If your thoughts are spinning like a top on something, he's gotcha.
We should therefore ride into battle with the spirit of Cyrano de Bergerac—sword in hand, a joke at the ready and a plume in our hat.