Screwtape is unhappy –
this time about Wormwood.
My dear Wormwood,
It is a little bit disappointing to expect a detailed report on your work and to receive instead such a vague rhapsody as your last letter. … But do remember, Wormwood, that duty comes before pleasure. … Give me without fail in your next letter a full account of the patient’s reactions to the war, so that we can consider whether you are likely to do more good by making him an extreme patriot or an ardent pacifist. There are all sorts of possibilities. In the meantime, I must warn you not to hope too much from a war.
5.1) Screwtape is mocking Wormwood’s excitement about the war – and warning him not to expect too much from it. Why would Screwtape not be pleased that the patient is about to have to deal with the fear that comes from being in a war zone?
Of course a war is entertaining. The immediate fear and suffering of the humans is a legitimate and pleasing refreshment for our myriads of toiling workers. … Let us therefore think rather how to use, than how to enjoy, this European war.
5.2) Read what Jesus says in Matthew 26:26-30 and also in John 6:27-59. How does Screwtape’s talk of a banquet differ from Jesus’ words at the Last Supper?
For it has certain tendencies inherent in it which are, in themselves, by no means in our favour. We may hope for a good deal of cruelty and unchastity. But, if we are not careful, … One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.
5.3) Screwtape says that during wartime, not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever. Look at Genesis 3:17-19 – Job 14:1-6 – Psalms 89:46-48 – Psalms 144:3-4 and 1 Peter 1:22-25. Compare what Screwtape says to what these verses from the Bible tell us.
I know that Scabtree and others have seen in wars a great opportunity for attacks on faith, but I think that view was exaggerated. … But even then, if he applies to Enemy headquarters, I have found that the post is nearly always defended,
Your affectionate uncle
5.4) Screwtape says God has plainly told us that suffering is an essential part of what He calls Redemption. What instances from the Bible have told us this?
rhapsody — It is a little bit disappointing to expect a detailed report on your work and to receive instead such a vague rhapsody as your last letter.
an instrumental composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation (made up on the fly / with no preparation).
Note – it’s the lack of thought that Wormwood put into the letter that Screwtape is disappointed about. In this case, the music part of the definition doesn’t apply.
temporal — When I see the temporal suffering of humans who finally escape us, I feel as if I had been allowed to taste the first course of a rich banquet and then denied the rest.
enduring for a time only; temporary; transitory ( opposed to eternal).
sophistical — He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He thinks bad on the monstrously sophistical ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they knew.
a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally false method of reasoning.