“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, December 6, 2012

C. S. Lewis: "The Weight of Glory"

In every earthly pleasure - a beautiful sunset or piece of music, moments with people we love, etc. - our desires are almost but never quite satisfied. They seem to point to something we cannot reach in this world. For C. S. Lewis, that something was God. So also for Augustine, who wrote that “our hearts are restless till they find their rest in Thee.” Our desire for God will never be filled in this life, but if it will be in heaven, then we must live in light of that. This is how C. S. Lewis puts it in “The Weight of Glory”:

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

We remain conscious of a desire...still wandering and uncertain of its object...which no natural happiness will satisfy...The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing...For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited...The sense that in this universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret.

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words - to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves.

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door...But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. We shall get in...It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.”

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