Monday, July 28, 2014

Excerpt from "The Problem of Pain" C.S. Lewis

An Excerpt from C.S Lewis’ The Problem of Pain

 From the chapter “Divine Goodness”

        By the goodness of God we mean nowadays almost exclusively His lovingness; and in this we may be right. And by Love, in this context, most of us mean kindness—the desire to see other than the self happy; not happy in this way or in that, but just happy. What would really satisfy us would be a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?’ We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven—a senile benevolence who, as they say, ‘liked to see young people enjoying themselves’, and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, ‘a good time was had by all’. Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms; but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was covered on such lines. But since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is Love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.
          I might, indeed, have learned, even from the poets, that Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness: that even the love between the sexes is, as in Dante, ‘a lord of terrible aspect’. There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness (in the sense given above) is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object—we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished.[1] It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense. (p 385)

From: The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classic (2002, San Francisco, HarperCollins)
The Problem of Pain © 1940 C.S. Lewis

[1] Hebrews 12.8

Sunday, July 20, 2014


The bitter draught,
a cup of suffering.
The un-loved past, and

That hand of hope,
was freely given;
mending the breaks,
and marks.

A Light in darkness,
and the swirling noise
of accusing voices;

My cup filled with
the distillation of a bitter past;
Now makes every living moment
taste sweet.

©Lisa Guinther 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Quote from Hans Urs von Balthasar's Glory of the Lord: Seeing the Form

On the gift of the Holy Spirit and inspiration:

“The inspiration, therefore, descends upon believing man from the heights of the absolute as the absolute genius which is essentially superior to man in every respect. And yet, at the same time, the inspiration rises from man’s own most intimate depths: it is the person himself who loves and tastes God, and not an alien principle that does this through the person. As Paul says, such a person is one ‘impelled by the Spirit’ (Rom 8.4, Gal 5.18) and, as such, is not ‘under the law’; but this is so because the Spirit, which cannot be captured by any law and which ‘blows where it wills’ (Jn. 3.8), is a ‘Spirit of sonship’ which makes us ‘children of God’ and thus incorporates us into the divine law of the Son of God (Rom 8.14 f.). The Son, in turn, into whom we are incorporated and with whom we become co-heirs of the Father, is the incarnate Son who suffers, rises up and lives on in the church, and we receive his Spirit only if we enter into the form of his revelation. Once again, all aspirations of a natural aesthetics are here fulfilled and more than fulfilled: this is the inviolate circle of the beautiful that arises between the inspiration from above (and from within) and the attachment to the form from which the light of inspiration must come forth if we are to recognize as beautiful what we have beheld. Already in a natural aesthetics the process of artistic creativity (and in some sense also its ‘repetition’ in the enjoyment of art) is founded upon a mysterious obedience: in the last analysis, the inspired artist does not follow his own idea, but rather allows something ungraspable to cast its rays upon him. To art belongs not only the master’s skill—the ability to translate a vision into sensual form—but also the ability not to obstruct either the illumining action of the idea or, so to speak, the idea’s generation’ and ‘incarnation’ in the mind of the artist. Eternally the artist may choose to appear haughty, but interiorly he must be a humbly receptive womb for the ‘conception’. Only if he knows how to be quite will the anima sing in him.  (p 243-244)

 From The Glory of the Lord by Hans Urs von Balthasar (1982, San Francisco, Ignatius)