Tag Archives: The Weight of Glory

“You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness” by C.S. Lewis

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers.

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them.

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses(New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 29-31.

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“Remember your fairy tales” by C.S. Lewis

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things– the beauty, the memory of our own past– are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Do you think I am trying to weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking enchantments as well as for inducing them. And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.”

–C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Harper Collins, 1949/2001), 30-31.

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“In love He claims all” by C.S. Lewis

“He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.”

-–C. S. Lewis, “A Slip of the Tongue” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 190.

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“We shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale” by C.S. Lewis

“We shall live forever. There will come a time when every culture, every institution, every nation, the human race, all biological life is extinct and every one of us is still alive. Immortality is promised to us, not to these generalities. It was not for societies or states that Christ died, but for men.

In that sense Christianity must seem to secular collectivists to involve an almost frantic assertion of individuality. But then it is not the individual as such who will share Christ’s victory over death. We shall share the victory by being in the Victor. A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life.

Nothing that has not died will be resurrected. That is just how Christianity cuts across the antithesis between individualism and collectivism. There lies the maddening ambiguity of our faith as it must appear to outsiders. It sets its face relentlessly against our natural individualism; on the other hand, it gives back to those who abandon individualism an eternal possession of their own personal being, even of their bodies.

As mere biological entities, each with its separate will to live to expand, we are apparently of no account; we are cross-fodder. But as organs in the Body of Christ, as stones and pillars in the temple, we are assured of our eternal self-identity and shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale.”

-–C. S. Lewis, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 172-3.

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“God means what He says” by C.S. Lewis

“It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life– to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son– how can we do it?

Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what He says.”

-–C. S. Lewis, “On Forgiveness” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 182-3.

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“Forgive the inexcusable” by C.S. Lewis

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

-–C. S. Lewis, “On Forgiveness” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 182.

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“We are derived beings” by C.S. Lewis

“We shall be true and everlasting and really divine persons only in Heaven, just as we are, even now, coloured bodies only in the light. To say this is to repeat what everyone here admits already– that we are saved by grace, that in our flesh dwells no good thing, that we are, through and through, creatures not creators, derived beings, living not of ourselves but from Christ.”

-–C. S. Lewis, “Membership” in The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses (New York: HarperCollins, 1949/2001), 174-5.

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