when there are no more possibilities left but only the Real

In the passage below from The Great Divorce (end of Chapter 13), the protagonist (who is clearly C.S. Lewis) holds a dialog with his great Teacher (who is clearly George MacDonald). At one point, Lewis says to MacDonald: In your own books, Sir, you were a Universalist. You talked as if all men would beContinue reading “when there are no more possibilities left but only the Real”

the stubbornness to accept our gladness

“A Brief For The Defense” by Jack Gilbert. Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils. But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants. Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would notContinue reading “the stubbornness to accept our gladness”

all the attention you can give it

That mention of Feuerbach and joy reminded me of something I saw early one morning a few years ago, as I was walking up to the church. There was a young couple strolling along half a block ahead of me. The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glisteningContinue reading “all the attention you can give it”

angel danced with devil

A CERTAIN EVENING THAT night the whole world mingled, The souls were babes at play, And angel danced with devil. And God cried, ‘Holiday!’ The sea had climbed the mountain peaks, And shouted to the stars To come to play: and down they came Splashing in happy wars. The pine grew apples for a whim,Continue reading “angel danced with devil”

joy of recovered childhood

The liturgy is, before everything else, the joyous gathering of those who are to meet the risen Lord and to enter with him into the bridal chamber. And it is this joy of expectation and this expectation of joy that are expressed in singing and ritual, in vestments and in censing, in that whole beautyContinue reading “joy of recovered childhood”

pay for extraordinary joy in ordinary morals

The aesthetes touched the last insane limits of language in their eulogy on lovely things. The thistledown made them weep; a burnished beetle brought them to their knees. Yet their emotion never impressed me for an instant, for this reason, that it never occurred to them to pay for their pleasure in any sort ofContinue reading “pay for extraordinary joy in ordinary morals”

one small thing withheld

For the pleasure of pedantry I will call it the Doctrine of Conditional Joy. Touchstone talked of much virtue in an “if”; according to elfin ethics all virtue is in an “if.” The note of the fairy utterance always is, “You may live in a palace of gold and sapphire, if you do not sayContinue reading “one small thing withheld”