Tuesday, June 08, 2010

From C. S. Lewis's The weight of Glory

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit--immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of the kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously--no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinners--no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat, the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

2 comments:

unkleE said...

CS Lewis is almost always right, in my opinion, and his conclusion here ("your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses" is I guess also correct (not so sure about "the Blessed Sacrament").

But I think his starting point ("it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit") owes more to Greek philosophy than the New Testament, which teaches the resurrection of the dead, not the ongoing life of the immortal. This makes a huge difference to our belief, including about God's judgment.

Edward T. Babinski said...

I disagree, all we can really be certain of to such a high degree is birth and death. We can't be certain of immortality or of holiness (of host, person, or scripture).

We can believe in immortality, but with less certainty than we have have concerning birth, death and mass extinctions.