This Year's Lenten Reading: The Gargoyle Code
I just received in the mail today my Lenten reading for the next 40 days. It is Fr. Dwight Longenecker's new book, The Gargoyle Code: Lenten Letters between a Master Tempter and his diabolical Trainee.
The Gargoyle Code is written, "in the tradition of The Screwtape Letters", as a series of daily communiques from one demonic entity (the Master Tempter Slubgrip) to another (Slubgrip's protege, Dogwart). Master and trainee are each embroiled in efforts to destroy the souls of their respective "patients": Slubgrip's, an older Catholic in failing health; Dogwart's, a confused young Catholic. The letters begin on Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) with Slubgrip admonishing Dogwart for attempting to use the Mardi Gras festivities to bring about the immediate moral degradation of the young Catholic "patient" under his influence. "Too much too soon," warns Slubgrip, "and they run away. You need to lead them downward slowly but surely."
And so begins the tutelage of Dogwart in the "art" of temptation. Slubgrip goes on to opine that the most predictable result of tempting the young Catholic to indulge in the Fat Tuesday revelry will be to remind him that the following day is Ash Wednesday, "and what we don't want him to do is attend Mass and go through that ridiculous ceremony where they smear ashes on their foreheads." Instead, the whole thing should be blocked out of his head, by reminding him of a TV program that he likes and having him sit up all night watching the banality on the screen, and by ensuring that he has plenty of junk food with which to engorge himself rather than fast for Ash Wednesday.
The following chapters, each a 1-2 page letter advising and/or critiquing the apprentice demon, provide an inside look at the diabolical and deceptive workings of the Underworld. Fortunately, we are warned at the beginning of the book by "Your Guardian" of the disturbing spiritual warfare techniques of the Evil One that are on display in the pages to follow.
So far, I have read the Introduction by "Your Guardian", the report by the "International Intelligence Agency" of intercepted and decoded transmissions of "what seem to be instructions and training for undercover agents working in the field of religious propaganda", and the first of the letters from Slubgrip pertaining to Shrove Tuesday. But from what I have read of the book at this point (as well as from Fr. Longenecker's past blog posts on The Gargoyle Code), I can highly recommend this book for your Lenten reading. I'm definitely looking forward to using Fr. Longenecker's book as part of my daily Lenten reflection.