Monday, March 2, 2015
This blog will be silent for a week or so. I will be away on a silent retreat at Holy Cross Abbey in Virginia. I write this not to parade my holiness, if I had some sort of video camera following me while on retreat you will see a lot of sleeping (the first two days, for me, usually result in my body catching up on sleep) and then a struggle to spend time praying and listening - withdrawing from technology (even a radio) can make one very antsy. Anyway, cameras are not allowed, so you will have to take my word. However, I post this as way of advertisement for a retreat at Holy Cross, all are welcome.
Check it out - HERE.
And a Lewis quote:
We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
From "Membership" as found in The Weight of Glory
Saturday, February 28, 2015
The previous post brought to mind the above video. As I typed the Lewis quote directly from the Lenten booklet I stopped at a few words that seemed to be Americanized. I had my e-book reader with me and looked up the passage from Mere Christianity and noticed the same in some cases. I retrieved my copy of Mere Christianity and found the "Lewis" English spelling of the words "fibre" and "favourite". This is not to say that the printed copy is supreme. There have been, and maybe still are, Americanized versions of Lewis works, we wouldn't want the Americans confused, now would we? The Lenten booklet is of course printed, but a second-hand quote, much like the quotes on this blog, and subject to human error. That is not to say all printed Lewis books are inerrant, having multiple copies from different printings I have come across errors in Lewis books - spelling, puncuation and others, that were errors by the publisher. However, for some fun with English/American spelling, see the above video.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
I came across the booklet pictured above and am using the daily readings for Lent. The publisher is Creative Communications and it features daily thoughts from C.S. Lewis and Henri Nouwen. The reading from the other day:
Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Monday, February 23, 2015
Sunday, February 22, 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
In the BBC film version of Shadowlands there is a scene, fairly early, with Lewis (Joss Ackland) in a common room with his Oxford colleagues, smoking and drinking and talking. The scene prior to this Lewis is seen in a recording studio, presumably giving a talk that would become part of Mere Christianity, and he is discussing marriage and mentions he is not a married man, but he is only communicating what orthodox Christianity teaches about it. In the common room they chide Lewis for his work as a popular Christian speaker, especially talking about areas he lacks direct personal experience with. One of the men says that Lewis will become the "Non-playing captain in the cricket game of life." The room roars with laughter. Lewis shoots back that "the spectator sees more of the sport."
I have been reading The Problem of Pain and now I switched to A Grief Observed, in preparation for next week's meeting. I have been bolstered by the authoritative Lewis discussing pain and suffering and the Christian response. As a spectator he sees much of the sport. Now, with A Grief Observed, I am seeing Lewis as a player in the game. Below is from chapter 3:
"Feelings, and feelings, and feelings. Let me try thinking instead. From the rational point of view, what new factor has H.’s death introduced into the problem of the universe? What grounds has it given me for doubting all that I believe? I knew already that these things, and worse, happened daily. I would have said that I had taken them into account. I had been warned—I had warned myself—not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. They were part of the programme. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accepted it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. Yes; but should it, for a sane man, make quite such a difference as this? No. And it wouldn't for a man whose faith had been real faith and whose concern for other people's sorrows had been real concern. The case is too plain. If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which 'took these things into account' was not faith but imagination. The taking them into account was not real sympathy. If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came. It has been an imaginary faith playing with innocuous counters labelled ‘Illness,’ ‘Pain,’ ‘Death,’ and ‘Loneliness.’ I thought I trusted the rope until it mattered to me whether it would bear me. Now it matters, and I find I didn't."
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
A quote to begin Lent with:
". . . fasting is a different experience from missing your dinner by accident or through poverty. Fasting asserts the will against the appetite - the reward being self-mastery and the danger pride: Involuntary hunger subjects appetites and will together to the Divine will, furnishing an occasion for submission and exposing us to the danger of rebellion. But the redemptive effect of suffering lies chiefly in its tendency to reduce the rebel will. Ascetic practices, which in themselves strengthen the will, are only useful insofar as they enable the will to put its own house (the passions) in order, as a preparation for offering the whole man to God."
From The Problem of Pain, chapter 7