Doing Away with the “Vile Activities”

Dear Under-Secretary Screwtape,

Thank you so very much for the fortnight in the Abyss—it was quite instructional. I appreciate even more so the order to release me and allow me to continue my mission with these female humans. You were justified in your judgment against me:  I allowed SH [Stepping Heavenward] to be passed around the entire Upper School. You have my word that will never happen again. That book is such an infuriatingly effective tool for our Enemy, speaking as it does to the hopes and dreams of all women, and being so sickeningly honest in its portrayal of a woman’s Christian spiritual journey. I shudder to think of the souls it has helped snatch from our Master’s clutches.

But no more of that! I have been busy investigating the homes of the female humans under my watch, and I have found more to be appalled by than I ever expected! I have discovered books dedicated to the lives of the Enemy’s so-called Saints! My best hope is that they have not been read—as you know, many humans own books as a sign of status and never actually read them. I was amazed to see, alongside your hated book by Foxe, such tomes as The Story of a Soul about Therese of Lisieux (remember how much she influenced her Sisters in the convent?). Her unswerving devotion to our Enemy, her insistent belief in His goodness, and her adherence to a simple and practical approach to a spiritual life did much to encourage the Church in the latter nineteenth century. Her story has been instrumental in helping the Enemy add untold thousands of souls to His ranks.

In case you believe my distress to be unfounded, let me remind your immanence of her contributions to the last century’s soul-count. She lived a hidden life and wanted to be unknown (and lived as a Carmelite nun in Lisiuex in Normandy until she died of tuberculosis). But she wrote about her spiritual journey, she wrote letters to her sisters and aunts, and she wrote an abundance of poetry—always focused on Jesus, His mother Mary, and her own devotion to the Word of God. Therese was content to live and work and pray—vile activities, of course—in obscurity, and it was only after her death that her work and words became useful to the Enemy. But since that time, her autobiography and other work has inspired millions of readers, including three twentieth-century Bishops of Rome. Her simplicity and “horror of pretense” (as she claimed) has drawn too many female humans to follow her example—and we are in danger of seeing these girls do the same.

Hear my pleas, Master Under-Secretary, and allow me the forces to redouble my efforts to draw these children away from their budding devotion to “profitable” reading.

Yours Most Appallingly,

Probationary Junior Tempter