Bended Knees – On Which To Chew

Reading Screwtape Letters* for the first time in perhaps 10 years; how salient it continues to be decades after its release is a testament to the un-changing-ness of human nature, the problems, vices, and struggles that face every person throughout time.

“One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray ‘with moving lips and bended knees’ but merely ‘composed his spirit to love’ and indulged ‘a sense of supplication’.  That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practised by those who are very far advanced in the Enemy’s service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time.  At the very least, they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls.  It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

*a satire by C.S. Lewis, comprised of letters from one demon, or tempter, to another younger and less-experienced tempter; “the Enemy” in the quotation above then, is God.

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