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I’ve been meaning to read The Gargoyle Code since I read the beginnings of it on Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s blog.  For one thing, I love-love-LOVE The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.  Gargoyle had the same effect on me that Screwtape did, making me hungry in many ways for confession, making me consider the many ways I’m tempted (and the many more ways I give in).

The beauty of Gargoyle to a Catholic geek like me is that it’s written for the 40 days of Lent, though you could read it in a few hours on a plane or on a sister-in-law’s comfy couch while cousins and siblings revel in each other’s presence (not that I know anyone who would read it that way).

On the surface, it’s not a hard read.  In fact, you could skim through it and walk away.

I don’t think you’d be unchanged, though.  I think it would work its way in, wiggle its way past your exterior, whip through your defenses and leave you wondering.

I mean, I don’t make that many mistakes and I‘m not tempted by those things.


Except I do.  I am.

I could just as easily be the person those tempters are discussing and plotting to pull into the depths of hell.

I am that person.

Reading Screwtape Letters opened my eyes to the awareness of a personal tempter (or crew of them).  Reading Gargoyle Code reminded me of the beauty of the sacraments to arm me for the battle they’re engaging me in.

As we leave the parade routes for 40 days of sacrifice, it’s hard not to dread the failure that’s looming.  As we gorge on King Cakes and beignet today, the ashes are being prepared for tomorrow.

The journey to the Cross is right in front of us.  Do you dread it as I do?  Do you savor it as I do?  Do you glean wisdom and lessons from it as I do?

So often, Lent is a time for me to bulk up at first and then fall flat on my face after about five minutes from the burden I’ve placed on my own back.  In The Gargoyle Code, I have found a companion, one that works even when I don’t feel like reading or reflecting, one that will guide me away from my obsession with perfection.  Here’s a book that is equal parts entertainer and instructor.  It’s much a good book as it is a mentor for the challenge that’s always in front of me.

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  • Mark

    Sarah, thanks as always. This thought just came to me, maybe it’s not original but, what about having a “Lent” partner. Someone with whom you can be accountable and who can be accountable to you for mortifications and tasks each promises during lent. I have always viewed Lent as a me thing, or a me with God watching thing. But I know it isn’t all about me, it’s all about us, all of us…and Him who makes all of us into His body. A partner may help bring the flesh-and-bones reality of Jesus into a sharper reality for me. I know it’s off topic (more than a little) from the excellent review of the book you gave but some of the words you used triggered my thinking. And that is what a good writer always does! Blessings to you and all those you love! Mark

  • I love this book! It totally gets into your head and makes you take a good look at yourself. It’s the only book I’ve ever read that made me want to go to confession. I’ll be reading it every day this Lent.

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