The Whole Business of Life

Obedience appears to me more and more the whole business of life, the only road to love and peace—the cross and the crown in one… What indeed can we imagine Heaven to be but unimpeded obedience.

— C.S. Lewis, Letter to Dom Bede Griffiths (1936)

Advertisements

The Suitable Moment Never Comes

C. S. Lewis years ago to students and scholars at Oxford before World War 2 (Thanks for sharing, Tom):

“If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would never have begun. . . . Life has never been normal. . . . Humanity . . . wanted knowledge and beauty now, and would not wait for the suitable moment that never comes. . . . The insects have chosen a different line: they have sought first the material welfare and security of the hive, and presumably they have their reward. Men are different. They propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds, discuss the last new poem while advancing to the walls of Quebec, and comb their hair at Thermophylae. This is not a panache; it is our nature.” [“Learning in War-Time,” The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Macmillan, 1980), pp. 21–22]

He Always Knew

God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once.”

“He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.

― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

The Instrument

When you come to knowing God, the initiative lies on His side. If He does not show Himself, nothing you can do will enable you to find Him. And, in fact, He shows much more of Himself to some people than to others — not because He has favorites, but because it is impossible for Him to show Himself to a man whose whole mind and character are in the wrong condition. Just as sunlight, though it has no favorites, cannot be reflected in a dusty mirror as clearly as in a clean one.

You can put this another way by saying that while in other sciences the instruments you use are things external to yourself (things like microscopes and telescopes), the instrument through which you see God is your whole self. And if a man’s self is not kept clean and bright, his glimpse of God will be blurred — like the Moon seen through a dirty telescope.

–CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

IN PRAISE OF SOLID PEOPLE

Thank God that there are solid folk

Who water flowers and roll the lawn,

And sit and sew and talk and smoke,

And snore all through the summer dawn.

Who pass untroubled nights and days

Full-fed and sleepily content,

Rejoicing in each other’s praise,

Respectable and innocent.

Who feel the things that all men feel,

And think in well-worn grooves of thought,

Whose honest spirits never reel

Before man’s mystery, overwrought.

O happy people! I have seen

No verse yet written in your praise,

And, truth to tell, the time has been

I would have scorned your easy ways.

Then I do envy solid folk

Who sit of evenings by the fire,

After their work and doze and smoke,

And are not fretted by desire.

–CS Lewis, Spirits in Bondage

Forsaken, and Still Obeys

“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters