Your C.S. Lewis Quotes Changed My Life ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, August 13, 2007

Your C.S. Lewis Quotes Changed My Life

A couple weeks ago I was complaining about how I haven't been able to read any C.S. Lewis this summer the way I like to. Why? My job. Work gets in the way of these things.

This afternoon, when I opened the plastic bottle, sunscreen exploded all over the dashboard. That's how hot it was. And when I opened my mouth outside, moving quickly, I almost drowned because of the inrushing condensation. That's how humid it was. I say this to prove that my reasons for not being able to read Lewis are very real.

Therefore, it was a great relief when some of you responded to my Lewis post with quotes. What you did was beautiful:

"It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.
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Do not be deceived, Wormwood.
Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys." - Amanda, from The Screwtape Letters

"You have gone far wrong. Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth. What you now call the free play of inquiry has neither more nor less to do with the ends for which intelligence was given you than masturbation has to do with marriage." - Oneway the Herald, from The Great Divorce

"Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you." - Jeffrey, from The Four Loves

"[Many] are afraid that heaven is a bribe... It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul could desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, because only the pure in heart want to. There are rewards that do not sully motives." - Jeffrey, from The Problem of Pain

"There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not." - Mark, from Mere Christianity

Reading these quotes as they came in was like massage therapy to a tired man, but also like smelling steak before dinner. Nice selection too. I was refreshed and tantalized. I was provoked to action. That's how I ended up plowing through Reflections on the Psalms and feeling the quality of my life increase, all within a few days. You people made it happen, and I thank you.

It's a slightly surreal feeling, having my own blog bait me into reading C.S. Lewis, but a very good feeling nevertheless. I find myself wondering if "the blog" will turn on me and force me to do other, better things as well...

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John said...

C.S. Lewis has some of the most uplifting quotes I've ever read. I only recently started reading his books this summer. I've read "The Screwtape Letters" and "Mere Christianity," so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Any personal recommendation on which of his books to go for next?

Ariel said...

John, you have some great reading ahead of you! I could answer your question a half dozen different ways without going wrong, but I'll make just a couple suggestions.

1. The reputation of the Narnia stories is completely warranted, and while they're categorized as "children's books," many adults consider them Lewis' most profound work. You'll want to read them eventually.

2. If you're staying to the more overtly theological books, The Great Divorce is one of my favorites. One of the later books Lewis wrote, he combines narrative and theology in a masterful, memorable, and often humorous way. You can't go wrong.

If you take up either of these trails, you'll encounter Lewis the Storyteller more clearly than you will have in either MC or Screwtape. I tend to think that Lewis communicates truth through story more brilliantly than anyone who ever lived, with one notable Exception.

Jeffrey said...

The Four Loves ends with the words a broken heart needs most to hear:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell." - The Four Loves


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