From Br. Joseph —
We are called to help each other to heaven.
The last paragraph to C.S. Lewis’ sermon, “The Weight of Glory”, is extraordinary writing. Lewis, contrary to the times, is not afraid to talk about heaven. He reminds us, whether we acknowledge it aloud to ourselves or not, that heaven is our deepest longing.
Heaven is not some extrinsic reward for living a moral life. (It can be if you are mercenary in your pursuit.) Heaven is much more than a reward. Heaven is the goal of life as marriage is the goal for true lovers. “[P]roper rewards are not simply tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.” Reminds me of the longing of the lovers in “The Song of Songs” and all the marriage metaphors in the Gospels. 🙂
Towards the middle of his long paragraph, Lewis reminds us of our nature and our destination, the journey we all are on:
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one of these destinations [to heaven or to hell]. It is in 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, civilisations—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.
Wow!! “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” This of course does not imply that we are gods, but rather we are adopted sons and daughters of God the Father. Our true destiny is Life, not death. (FYI—“immortal horrors or everlasting splendours” is an allusion to Dante’s Divine Comedy.)
Lewis continues the paragraph (which seems fitting for our all-school retreat tomorrow)—
This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be 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 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 neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.
You are holy. You are a sacrament. You—with Christ, in Christ, through Christ—are on a marvelous journey that, despite the hills and valleys, leads back home, to the place and Person of your deepest longing.
And so is the person next to you.
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…