You raise an interesting question – how do we know that the Enemy wants our patient to attend this church group, and how can we know that she is in greatest danger there? In one way the issue is irrelevant: regardless of what any human being does (except when engaged in activity which is directly sinful), they are exposed to the Enemy. He is always present to them in some form or another, and their eyes may be opened to that presence at any moment. That is why we must be always vigilant: any moment is the moment at which they may fall into the Enemy’s clutches. So, if she decides not to go to the Church group (for any reason – even a reason we have fed her), the Enemy may well reveal himself to her while she is lounging in an old armchair watching re-runs of a soap opera with her husband or sitting at the kitchen table doing homework with one of her children. Sear this truth into your brain, Blankweed: the Enemy is always there, in any situation, looking for an opportunity.
But it has to be said that the context of any situation means that the patient is more likely or less likely to recognise and correctly interpret the presence of the Enemy. Now you need to remember that human beings’ experience of the Enemy is very different to ours. We experience him – in those appalling moments when we are required to challenge him in a deathly duel (and I earnestly hope, Blankweed, that you never encounter such a situation)– as searing, destructive, eternal fire, a fire that even in its most limited form threatens, promises instant annihilation. But humans’ experience of him is much more muted. If he were to reveal himself in any more direct form than the faintest glow of that ghastly light he shines on everything, the human being would instantly be overwhelmed, overcome, and thrown to their knees. They too would not be able to resist that dreadful light. Their lives would change in the instant, their obedience would be unquestioned. They would see, with a certainty that could not be challenged, that this was what they were made for – for service to this….fffffffire. But for some reason, the Enemy makes a great deal about not exposing himself in a way that would overpower their puny wills. He goes on about wanting them to choose, to give themselves of their own free will to his service – and so he does not reveal himself directly, but shines with only the faintest glow that these humans can recognise, if they are attentive, without being overpowered. He calls this grrrrrace. This is where we get our chance.
The trick is to reinterpret that light so they do not realise it is the Enemy. So, for example, supposing the Enemy reveals himself (well, he is revealed at all times – so it is more a matter of preparing the patient’s mind to be receptive to that revelation) to our patient when she is watching television with her husband, relaxing over a glass of wine after a hard day. She knows something has happened. She feels a change in herself, that ghastly receptive impulse which all humans have to something that comes from h-----. (Incidentally, High Command has worked hard to remove that impulse, but to no avail. It’s like a homing beacon: they are made for that ghastly place, and with the revelation of the Enemy, that receptor lights up.). She somehow opens up…..and here we have to work quickly.
Our task is to convince her that what she feels is not the Enemy, but something else. We tell her that her body is unwinding after that hard day – that what she’s feeling is not grace but the experience of being relaxed and healthy. Or we tell her she is simply feeling happy about being at home with her husband, with the children tucked up in bed, in the quiet evening. We distract her by congratulating her on how the lampshade she chose throws a pleasing colour on the wall colour she chose – and that her feeling is an artistic one. Or we tell her – this is ridiculous, but you’ve no idea how often it works – that she’s feeling sexual desire. Objectively, of course, it’s impossible to compare any of these things – or anything at all - with the experience of the Enemy’s awful light. But if they’re not used to feeling his presence, and if there are other contextual factors that distract her, we can do it very neatly.
Now, to go back to your question: if, on the other hand, the Enemy chooses to reveal himself to her in a church, or in a room full of people praying or discussing the enemy’s textbook, or singing a song about the Enemy, then it is much harder for us to find issues that might distract her from recognising what is going on. Furthermore, she is surrounded by people experienced in the Enemy’s presence, who can correctly interpret her experience for her. You see – the context works against us. We are in terrible danger.
And this is why, even though the Enemy can ambush a human at any time, she must be prevented from spending time in a context which in dominated by the Enemy. She is more likely to recognise him, and the people around her are more likely to encourage that recognition, and explain the consequences of that experience to her. And, worst of all, they might encourage her to respond to that experience by pledging her allegiance. A husband with a headache and no experience of the Enemy (who, indeed, feels derision about the Enemy) is highly unlikely to encourage such a response. And the patient herself, even if she did recognise what has happened, is unlikely to understand what to do next. We then send her to bed, and in the morning, when her ‘real’ life rushes in at her (lunches to make, trains to catch, meetings to prepare for), we ensure that the whole experience slips away from her.
So it’s simple: stop her from getting to that meeting.Your affectionate friendScrewtape