Friday, July 4, 2008

Mere Christianity and the 4th of July

A few weeks back I heard an interview on EWTN radio of an "expert" on authors C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton (did any of these guys use their given names???). In the course of the discussion they talked about Lewis' book "Mere Christianity". And they mentioned a part of the book which any alcoholic or addict can relate to and is what made me run out and purchase "The Complete C.S. Lewis" (see my library link below and left). One of the benefits of being on vacation is lots of time to read!

In Chapter 10 of book 3 - don't worry each chapter is only 3-5 pages! - Lewis writes:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand , never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same.

How many times have we heard that people were searching for the answer in a bottle only to never be fulfilled. Here, then, is the answer. If nothing in this world satisfies our desire then we were made for another world, Heaven!

And the closing sentence sums up what we can learn in recovery, namely that we will not only satisfy that desire but help others to satisfy theirs as well. Just like we say in AA's Step 12 - "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these steps in all our affairs." Perhaps that awakening may be to the fact that we are made for another world and that we "must make it the main object of life to press on to the other country and to help others do the same".

Finally - it's only fitting that we speak of country on this 4th of July holiday. For my American friends, let us thank God this day for the blessings of this wonderful country, flaws and all, where we are able to worship God freely and pursue that other country that Lewis talks about. Come to think of it, maybe that's what is meant in our Declaration of Independence where our founding fathers guaranteed us the right to the pursuit of happiness!

Note - I highly recommend "Mere Christianity" for anyone interested in or already living the Christian faith. It's only 175 pages or so and is a great introduction to the Christian life without any real deep theological writing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The other day I saw two old friends. We were on a trip to see the last year of Yankee stadium, and we has each brought our sons along. I had individual conversations with each of them, and independently they both asked "what was I writing these days". This was an odd question. One had only known me sober, and one I had only seen a few times since I stopped drinking 15 years ago. However they both saw me as writters. I have always been focused on the writing big, typical of the AA mind. However I Like what you have done here, and I also like the book you referenced.