The Wormwood File
By: Jim Forest
"At the end of C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters (1941), the recipient of those missives on the art of temptation, the junior demon Wormwood, was in a pickle--indeed, might become a pickle, so to speak, for his uncle-advisor's hellish delectation. Forest reveals that Wormwood survived and now advises yet-more-junior tempters, including one Greasebeek, whose first case is the subject of these e-mails. The "client" is a young married man who, when the correspondence begins, has bought a Gregorian chant CD. Not to worry, says Wormwood; most who buy such things "barely listen to what is being sung" and even "give up on Christianity simply because the music in actual churches doesn't measure up." Besides, the client disfavors "organized religion": "What a useful phrase that's been!" Wormwood crows. But, as in Lewis' classic, things go from bad to better for the client. As they do, Wormwood's comments on both contemporary spiritual fashions and age-old temptations illuminate by contrast the strengths of orthodox Christian belief. A worthy sequel to a perdurable popular-theology masterpiece."-- Ray Olson, Booklist
By means of a series of intercepted e-mails from a senior demon (Wormwood) to his junior protégé, this deceptively entertaining book offers wise reflections on Christian life. Through Wormwoods counsel on how to handle a wavering client, we see how many ways there are to deceive the wayward believer. As Wormwood observes, "The battleground is the human mind. Reshape what he thinks and the deeds you intend for him will follow. There are ideas with wider jaws and sharper teeth than any dragon."
Jim Forest (1941-2022), a co-founder of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, was author of many Orbis books, including All Is Grace, Living with Wisdom, At Play in the Lions' Den and Eyes of Compassion (his biographies of peacemakers Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Daniel Berrigan, and Thich Naht Hanh). His other bestselling titles include Praying with Icons, The Ladder of the Beatitudes, and Writing Straight with Crooked Lines: A Memoir.