Wednesday, February 10, 2016

#742




Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the penitential season leading up to Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus.  During Lent fasting is a common practice, and depending on your church, some days are mandated.  Disciplining our bodies and the conundrum we often find ourselves in as humans - having souls and having bodies - both being created by God and both Good, and yet, we often abuse this gift, is addressed by C.S. Lewis in the piece below:

'You are always dragging me down,' said I to my Body.  'Dragging you down!' replied my Body.  'Well I like that!  Who taught me to like tobacco and alcohol?  You, of course, with your idiotic adolescent idea of being "grown-up".  My palate loathed both at first:  but you would have your way.  Who put an end to all those angry and revengeful thoughts last night?  Me, of course, by insisting on going to sleep.  Who does his best to keep you from talking too much and eating too much by giving you dry throats and headaches and indigestion?  Eh?'  'And what about sex?' said I.  'Yes, what about it?' retorted the Body.  'If you and your wretched imagination would leave me alone I'd give you no trouble.  That's Soul all over; you give me orders and then blame me for carrying them out.'

Originally published in St James' Magazine, December 1945, today found in God on the Dock and titled "Scraps"

Friday, February 5, 2016

#740


Canto V
The Second Circle of Hell is where the lustful reside.  Those who "sinned within the flesh, subjecting reason to the rule of lust."  The picture above has Dante fainting as he encountered those residing in this second circle of Hell.

Lewis deals with sexual sin in Mere Christianity, a famous quote to put such transgression into perspective is found below.

As found in Book 3 – Christian Behaviour, Chapter 5 – Sexual Morality:

Finally, though I have had to speak at some length about sex, I want to make it as clear as I possibly can that the centre of Christian morality is not here.  If anyone thinks that the Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong.  The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins.  All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronizing and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred.  For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become.  They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self.  The Diabolical self is the worse of the two.  That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.  But, of course, it is better to be neither.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

#739





The reason I picked up The Divine Comedy


#738


Add the words "old books" to the search bar at the top of the page and you will find many posts over the years documenting my reading of old books, or more appropriately my attempts to read old books.  Well, why not try again?  The latest book will be The Divine Comedy by Dante.  Of course you know you are reading one of the great books because the author is identified by one name - Homer, Virgil, Milton, Shakespeare, Tolkien (right!), and now for me - Dante.  I will post Lewis related thoughts as I read.  Below is the famous quote from Lewis concerning the reading of old books (might be the quote most posted on this blog.):

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books...The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can only be done by reading old books."

I am going to be lazy on this one and provide no citation, just search this blog and you will find more information about the quote.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

#737



Another quote that happened to be highlighted in my book:

"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same."

Mere Christianity
Book Three: Christian Behaviour
Chapter 10: Hope
Next to last paragraph

Sunday, January 31, 2016

#736

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Lewis quote to post based on the very thoughtful method of flipping through my Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics volume - 7 books in one, looking for a highlighted passage.  I found the following from The Screwtape Letters, hence the very Screwtape looking gargoyle pictured above at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.  The quote is from Letter 14 where Screwtape is explaining how the Enemy (God) deals with humans in an attempt to bring about true humility:

"He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."