“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Broaden your mind, Malcolm, broaden your mind!

I was reading C.S. Lewis', Letters to Malcolm, chiefly on prayer and was struck with something Lewis wrote. Although the comment was made in reference to liturgy/worship, I thought about it in terms of disability. Lewis says,

"Broaden your mind, Malcolm, broaden your mind! It takes all sorts to make a world; or a church. This may be even truer of a church. If grace perfects nature it must expand all our natures into the full richness of the diversity which God intended when He made them, and heaven will display far more variety than hell. "

Grace perfects nature. That is an interesting concept. More perfection needed, more grace dispensed. God shows grace to all people, sometimes I think me above all. God shows grace to perfect our nature. The church is God's agent on Earth. How does the church fare in dispensing grace for the perfection of nature? In order to include me, God needs to dispense grace. I accept His grace but he gives it.

There are those who need grace from the church. It is their role to receive it, however, it is the church's, our role, to dispense it such that we can perfect their nature insofar as we connect them with God, with the Body of Christ.

Later in the same letter, he writes,

"My grandfather, I'm told, used to say that he 'looked foward to having some very interesting conversations with St. Paul when he got to heaven.' Two clerical gentlemen talking at ease in a club! It never seemed to cross his mind that an ecnounter with St. Paul might be rather an overwhelming experience even for an Evangelical clergyman of good family. But when Dante saw the great apostles in heaven they affected him like mountains. There's lots to be said against devotions to saints; but at least they keep on reminding us that we are very small people compared with them. How much smaller before their Master."

I, like C.S. Lewis' grandfather, in my pride and vanity tend to have an inflated view of who I am, and therefore of my arrival in heaven. Do I actually think everything will stop and St. Paul will be looking for me to have a cup of coffee and discuss some fine point that I think I have a handle on. This is the same Saul who met Jesus and became Paul who has been with the Lord for a couple thousand years. I agree with Lewis in agreeing with Dante, that encountering the greats of the faith will be like encountering mountains, and how does one interact with a mountain.

Actually I think I might have more of a chance of coffee with my mentally handicapped friends, assuming the elect do such things like coffee in heaven. If God allows us to keep memories of life in heaven (some He couldn't I would suspect in order to make heaven truly blissful), but if He does, I would love to have a conversation reminiscent of what one finds in Keyes' Flowers for Algernon.


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