Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weight of Glory

The following is an excerpt from C S Lewis' famous essay The Weight of Glory; to me one of the best Christian essays ever written: take your time and think it through. Would love your comments.

Meanwhile the cross comes before the
crown and tomorrow is a Monday
morning. A cleft has opened in the pitiless
walls of the world, and we are invited to
follow our great Captain inside. The
following Him is, of course, the essential
point. That being so, it may be asked what
practical use there is in the speculations
which I have been indulging. I can think
of at least one such use. It may be possible
for each to think too much of his own
potential glory hereafter; it is hardly
possible for him to think too often or too
deeply about that of his neighbour. The
load, or weight, or burden of my
neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on
my back, a load so heavy that only
humility can carry it, and the backs of the
proud will be broken. It is a serious thing
to live in a society of possible gods and
goddesses, to remember that the dullest
and most uninteresting person you talk to
may one day be a creature which, if you
saw it now, you would be strongly tempted
to worship, or else a horror and a
corruption such as you now meet, if at all,
only in a nightmare. All day long we are,
in some degree, helping each other to one
or other of these destinations. It is in the
light of these overwhelming possibilities, it
is with the awe and the circumspection
proper to them, that we should conduct all
our dealings with one another, all
friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have
never talked to a mere mortal. Nations,
cultures, arts, civilization—these are
mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of
a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke
with, work with, marry, snub, and
exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting
splendours. This does not mean that we
are to be perpetually solemn. We must
play. But our merriment must be of that
kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind)
which exists between people who have,
from the outset, taken each other
seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no
presumption. And our charity must be a
real and costly love, with deep feeling for
the sins in spite of which we love the
sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence
which parodies love as flippancy parodies
merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament
itself, your neighbour is the holiest object
presented to your senses. If he is your
Christian neighbour he is holy in almost
the same way, for in him also Christ vere
latitat—the glorifier and the glorified,
Glory Himself, is truly hidden

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