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Friday, May 5, 2023

The Flies are Conquering the Fly Paper!

During World War II, John Steinbeck wrote a novel used by the war department called The Moon is Down. It tells the story of an invasion force occupying a coastal town where coal is mined. The invaders need the coal and the townspeople, who are defeated with the help of a traitor within, gradually rebel in subtle ways that undermine the morale of the invaders. One young enemy lieutenant, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, has a dream that he shares with his fellow officers in which he hears the expression, "The flies are conquering the fly paper." His dream reveals the truth by exposing the lie.

If you've ever been in a barn where the farmer hangs sticky fly paper to trap the flies, you can see the image in your mind and realize the irony of the statement. The lieutenant knows that the people at headquarters are lying about the state of the war. The defeated people have not welcomed the invaders, but have developed a cold, uncooperative resolution to fight in their own subtle ways. They will never give in. And gradually, like the flypaper, they are taking their toll on the invading army.

The fly paper image is a good one for us as we fight in the Church Militant. We call the devil the Lord of the Flies, but he can never defeat us if we capture him and his minions in the flypaper of truth.

Here's a bit of trivia about Steinbeck's novel. It had such a negative impact on the Axis powers during World War II that anyone found with the book was arrested. The pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword. May all Catholic writers and bloggers use the word to defeat the lie. And may we do it by walking in the footsteps of the Word made flesh Who dwelt among us!

Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, have mercy on us.


  1. We need to develop code names and a signal or handshake so we can recognize each other in the internment camps…

  2. By their fruits ye shall know them!

  3. I'm blessed to live in a Steinbeck country. I walk those fields and beaches everyday.