571) A Few More Words from C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis  (1898-1963)

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Mark 12:30  —  (Jesus said), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

(People are often worried when) they are told they ought to love God.  They cannot find any such feeling in themselves.  What are they to do?  The answer is… act as if you did.  Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings.  Ask yourself, ‘If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?’  When you have found the answer, go and do it.

On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.  Nobody can always have devout feelings:  and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about.  Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will.  If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’  He will give us feelings of love if He pleases.  We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right.  But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.  It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.    –From Mere Christianity

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From a June 14, 1960 letter, regarding grief, and then forgiveness (From The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis):

The most mischievous—and painful—by-product of any sorrow is the illusion that it isolates one, that one is kicked out alone for this from an otherwise cheerful, bustling, ‘normal’ world.  How much better to realize that one is just doing one’s turn in the line like all the rest of the ragged and tired human regiment!…

John 16:22a  —  (Jesus said), “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice…”

The real trouble about the duty of forgiveness is that you do it with all your might on Monday and then find on Wednesday… that you have to do it all over again.   

Matthew 18:21-22  —  Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

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From a letter to Mary Shelburne, December 6, 1955, on learning to depend on God (From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis):

It is a dreadful truth that the state of ‘having to depend solely on God’ is what we all dread most.  And of course that just shows how very much we have been depending on ‘things.’  That trouble goes so far back in our lives and is now so deeply ingrained, that we will not turn to Him as long as He leaves us anything else to turn to.  I suppose all one can say is that it was bound to come.  In the hour of death and the day of judgement, what else shall we have?  Perhaps when those moments come, they will feel happiest who have been forced (however unwillingly) to begin practicing it here on earth.  It is good of Him to force us:  but dear me, how hard to feel that it is good at the time….

From The Problem of Pain:

It is a poor thing to strike our colors to God when the ship is going down under us; a poor thing to come to Him as a last resort…  If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms:  but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him.  

Psalm 11:3…1a  —  When the foundations are being destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?…  In the Lord I take refuge.

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From March 27, 1948 letter in Collected Letters:

I believe that the men of this age (and among them you, and myself) think too much about the state of nations and the situation of the world.  Does not the author of The Imitation of Christ warn us against involving ourselves too much with such things?  We are not kings, we are not senators.  Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the state of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford (their own cities).

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Take from us, O God,  all pride and vanity, all boasting and forwardness, and give us the true courage that shows itself by gentleness; the true wisdom that shows itself by simplicity; and the true power that shows itself by modesty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–Charles Kingsley, Church of England priest and writer  (1819-1875)