Fifty years ago today, on November 22, 1963, C. S. Lewis died of kidney failure. The death of one of the great Christian writers of the 20th century was overshadowed by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy one hour later. Lewis was already a popular writer in 1963, and in the half century since then his popularity has grown and his influence has been immeasurable. Columnist Cal Thomas writes: “On the 50th anniversary of his death, C.S. Lewis remains perhaps the 20th century’s most towering intellectual practitioner of the Christian faith. Lewis combined humility– rare among those who have achieved fame– with a style that relied less on argumentation than on logic and persuasion. He asks readers to join him on a journey he himself has taken and, like a tour guide, shows us a better world and a better life… His many books continue to sell and the number of people whose lives have been changed by his writing expands each year.” Today’s meditation is a sample of his wisdom.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world… Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul. —The Problem of Pain
‘You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,’ said Aslan. ‘And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor in earth.’ —Prince Caspian
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth, only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket– safe, dark, motionless, airless– it will change. It will not be broken; but it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.
Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose. —The Four Loves
God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.
There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; he died to make them worth it. —The World’s Last Night
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. —Mere Christianity
Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning… When you are arguing against Him you are arguing against the very power that makes you able to argue at all. —Mere Christianity
Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst. —Reflections on the Psalms
Democracy demands that little men should not take big ones too seriously; it dies when it is full of little men who think they are big themselves.
Now that I am a Christian I do not have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. —Mere Christianity
We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. —Letters to Malcolm
All that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. —Mere Christianity
Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger. —The Problem of Pain
James 1:2-3 — Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Psalm 119:71 — It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.
Philippians 4:20, 23 — To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever… The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and you know our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. —Book of Common Prayer