The Problem of Death – On Which to Chew

More Screwtape, its timeliness almost shocks:

“How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition!  And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which war enforces.  One of our best weapons, contented worldiness, is rendered useless.  In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.”

(The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, a satire; a collection of letters from a senior tempter to a greener demon)

Ostensibly written during the outbreak of WWII.  The first sentence reminds me especially of the situation faced by the characters of Brideshead Revisited on the declining health of the patriarch–no one wanted to let him know that he was dying; how far we’ve come from the prayer in the Great Litany of the BCP that we “would not die suddenly and unprepared.”

Anyone else (with me), suffer almost constantly from “contented worldiness”?

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