It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
C. S. Lewis The Weight of Glory
I began reading Lewis’ book a couple of days ago. It is difficult to get the full picture of what he is talking about when you read the works in chunks as I have had to do between taking care of a baby, a dog, and the house. If you read this book, try to read it a chapter at a time and read it straight through. But, here are a few short thoughts on this great work.
The first essay (actually, a sermon) called “The Weight of Glory” was quite moving. What struck me about this chapter was how Lewis gets to the heart of man. We think we own the world, and yet we have settled for dust. We read the poets and philosophers for truth, yet ignore the Book of Truth. We attain earthly power, yet shun the glory God has in store for us. Truly as Lewis says, we are too easily pleased.
Man is a fickle thing. Yes, Shakespeare was right to say that he is a giddy thing, but too often we deny ourselves true happiness, no, joy in life when we settle for the things of this world rather than for the simple pleasure and goodness of knowing we are His. God has given us everything. This is not to say we should debauch ourselves in sin and and take advantage of this freedom we have in Christ, but as we learn in the Ten Commandments and in Paul’s letters, all things are permissible to us. We were given a couple, simple things not to do. This is not to keep us from enjoyment, but they were given so that we might have life and have it abundantly. We have freedom. But we always want things we shouldn’t have and settle for the least of what is promised us. How pitiful we make our existence when we don’t accept the joys and promises and gifts the Lord has offered to us.
But another point I appreciated about this work was how Lewis notes that the poets, philosophers, teachers, and other ancient writers and contemporaries have gotten so close to the truth, even when they are attempting to sever themselves from God, yet miss the mark so entirely. We desire another world, another life, godliness, purity, love, glory, freedom, beauty, and so many other magnanimous and wonderful things and think we can attain them by our own designs. We know none of these things truly can be found here on earth, so we imagine or create the place we think they are. We get close to these things, play with the ideas in our writings, yet so cleverly miss the mark. God has so much more in store for us than our minds can imagine, and that is why, as Lewis says, the poets know that this world is not our home.
There is so much more to this work than what I wrote here. This is merely what stands out to me as I sit this morning watching the rain fall and listening to the cars drive past. There was no splendid sunrise this morning, but the simplicity of quiet and the beauty of peace was lovely, and for that I am thankful. I encourage you to also find a quiet place to read this work. Lewis paints his books so beautifully, and he truly makes you think about how you view life and love.
Blessings to you and yours,