Rereading Mere Christianity – Yet Another Update

As I make my way through the fourth book of C.S. Lewis’ epic Mere Christianity, I find yet another great analogy-filled quote worth sharing (although the entire book is a quote worth sharing).

Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection, if you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very centre of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?

Rereading Mere Christianity – Another Update

As I have now declared to the universe, I am rereading Mere Christianity. While the entire book is quotable, I came across another one I thought worth sharing from today:

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.”

-C.S. Lewis

Rereading Mere Christianity – An Update

As I reread (well, via Audible) Mere Christianity, I am overwhelmed by quotable material. I’d quote the whole thing but then that’d just be the book. I must take this brief moment now to strongly suggest you read (or reread) this book immediately.

Below is a quote I thought particularly good and is something good for EVERY Catholic to keep in mind…especially ones who feel complacent (or even prideful) in their faith.

“The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.”

-C.S. LEWIS

Reading Mere Christianity Again

So I’ve finally convinced a loved one to crack open C.S. Lewis’ magnum opus, Mere Christianity (Deo gratias!). Well, not crack it open, but, rather, listen to it on Audible. Since we now have it available in audio form, I thought I’d dive in too, just because it had been years since I read it and it would make it easier to discuss with him.

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I must say I am entirely moved by the text, it’s better than I remember it. I first read it as I embarked on my journey back to the Church. I was new to the concept of natural law or, really, any argument for Christianity which was intellectually stimulating or thoughtful. I don’t think I absorbed as much as I am now by going back through it. Lewis’s clear way of describing the ‘mere’ tenets of Christianity is astounding. He had such a gift for explaining difficult, immaterial concepts well…and humorously. Mere Christianity, I contend, is a text which should be read by every adult Christian, non-Christian, or atheist if for the mere reason to better know what they wish to argue against.

Anyhow, as I listen, I hear line after line which seems more quotable than the last. I especially liked the one saying that a huge problem is that most people have been explained a six-year old’s understanding of Christianity, so of course many people see Christianity as childish or needless (and that was in the 40’s/50’s!). ☩

Lenten Reading: Finally Going to Read Augustine’s ‘Confessions’

After sitting on my shelf for two years, I have decided to finally crack open and finish Saint Augustine’s famous epic, Confessions. Augustine’s story of leaving his young life of hedonism and debauchery behind after making a monumental conversion to Christianity is a tale many people–especially millennials–find beckoning.

Learning about the scandalous and sinful early lives of saints offers hope. It proves that saints are not born saints and that we all have the ability to become saints no matter what one’s past is. It’s a hope that no one can take away no matter the situation.

The same curiosity leads many to read Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain which is another tale of a man preoccupied with finding one fleeting high after another before uncovering the truth in life, converting to Catholicism and becoming a Trappist monk.

Heaven is filled with converted sinners of all kinds, and there is room for more.
-St. Joseph Cafasso

If memory serves, Confessions is on the list of The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, a secular list. The book is considered by both Christians and many non-Christians alike to be a masterpiece. Peter Kreeft calls Augustine a “saint of our times” because of how so many lost millennials are able to relate with his life as a teenager and young adult.

I was torn between three books to take up this Lent…all of which are already on the bookshelf: Confessions, CS Lewis’ Surprised by Joy, or St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout LifeIn partial help due to respected recommendation of a priest friend of mine, I think Confessions will be a fine choice! I’m sure there’s more to come on this…maybe a TSP Cliffs Notes? ☩