1557) Deeper Love

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From a letter by C. S. Lewis to Mary van Deusen (July 23, 1953) regarding concerns about her daughter’s ‘unhappy’ marriage, and the need for the natural love in marriage to grow into a deeper, divine love. (from The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Volume III)

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     It sounds to me as if Genia has a pretty good husband on the whole.   So much matrimonial misery comes to me in my mail that I feel those whose partner has no worse fault than being stupider than themselves may be said to have drawn a prize!  It hardly amounts to a problem.  I take it that in every marriage natural love sooner or later, in a high or a low degree, comes up against difficulties which force it either to turn into dislike, or else to turn into Christian love.  For our natural feelings are not resting places, but springboards.  One has to go on from there, or fall back from there.  The merely human pleasure in being loved must either go bad, or, become the divine joy of loving.  It’s all quite in the ordinary run of Christian life.  See I Peter 4:12 ‘Think it not strange…’

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There are two kinds of love:  we love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us.  This second kind is the more divine because that is how God loves us:  not because we are lovable, but because He is love; not because He needs to receive, but because He delights to give.

–From The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III

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I Peter 4:12…15-16   —  Dear friends, do not be surprised at the suffering that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you…  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

I Corinthians 13:4-7  —  Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

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A WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PRAYER FOR TWO IMPERFECT PEOPLE:

O God, we thank you that you have given us another year of life together.  We thank you for the love which grows more precious and for the bonds which grow more close each day.  We thank you for the happiness we have known together; for the sorrows we have faced together; for all the experiences of sunshine and of shadow through which we have come together to this day.

We each ask your forgiveness for any disloyalty on our part; for any times when we were difficult to live with; for any selfishness and inconsiderateness; for any lack of sympathy and of understanding; for anything which spoiled even for a moment the perfect relationship which marriage should be.

Spare us to each other to go on walking the way of life together, and grant that for us it may be true that the best is yet to be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–William Barclay, Scottish minister, professor, and author (1907-1978), from A Guide to Daily Prayer, page 102-103 (adapted).

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