Inaugural Post: The Angelic Letters
C.S. Lewis is best known, whether or not it is the work that should have this distinction from, for writing The Screwtape Letters. This post offers an interesting inversion of that classic work.
Introduction to this work
C.S. Lewis is best known, whether or not it is the work that should have this distinction from, for writing The Screwtape Letters. In that work, a senior demon advises a junior demon in how to tempt and ultimately try to destroy a young man. In my opinion this is not C.S. Lewis’s greatest work, but it is real to us today because evil is something we can relate to and goodness is mistakenly taken for boring.
This present work offers an inversion of Lewis’s work, in the form of a senior angel advising a guardian angel how to best care for a young man under his charge. Nicoletta Freedman, in the foreword to The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, wrote:
The work that stands out most among the creative pieces, perhaps among all of them, is that which opens the book, “The Angelic Letters.” I have had the pleasure of reading nearly all of Hayward's writings, and I was delighted that he undertook to write such a work. Readers who are familiar with C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters will recognize at once that it is the very book which that author desired, but felt unable, to write in order to balance the demonic correspondence. It is a mark of Hayward's skill, knowledge, and spiritual insight that he has successfully written something that such a theologian as Lewis did not wish to attempt. He has of course accomplished this work with God's help, but one must realize the spiritual struggle, mental effort, careful study, and deep prayer that has gone into every piece in this anthology.
The Angelic Letters
My dearly beloved son Eukairos;
I am writing to you concerning the inestimable responsibility and priceless charge who has been entrusted to you. You have been appointed guardian angel to one Mark.
Who is Mark, whose patron is St. Mark of Ephesus? A man. What then is man? Microcosm and mediator, the midpoint of Creation, and the fulcrum for its sanctification. Created in the image of God; created to be prophet, priest, and king. It is toxic for man to know too much of his beauty at once, but it is also toxic for man to know too much of his sin at once. For he is mired in sin and passion, and in prayer and deed offer what help you can for the snares all about him. Keep a watchful eye out for his physical situation, urge great persistence in the liturgical and the sacramental life of the Church that he gives such godly participation, and watch for his ascesis with every eye you have. Rightly, when we understand what injures a man, nothing can injure the man who does not injure himself: but it is treacherously easy for a man to injure himself. Do watch over him and offer what help you can.
With Eternal Light and Love,
Your Fellow-Servant and Angel
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