The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Doors of Hell

This morning, I picked up a book that I bought several years ago called A Year with C. S. Lewis.  The compiler of this book has selected a bit of Lewis' spiritual insight for each day of the calendar year.  I found the selection for 1 December to be very intriguing.  It is taken from his work The Problem of Pain, and it challenges the notion that the loss of even one soul diminishes the omnipotence of God.  Quite the opposite, Lewis proclaims, because God's willingness to create a being that has the capacity to resist and reject its creator is, "the most astonishing and unimaginable of all the feats we attribute to the Deity."  God created us to be more that mindless slaves worshiping at His feet because we have no other choice in the matter.  Rather, He wants us to choose to worship Him because He is our Father and He is worthy of our praise.

The real money quote, however, is this:  "They [the damned] enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free."  His contention is that the gates of Hell are locked only on the inside, and that those who have rejected God out of some misguided desire to be free are merely imprisoning themselves inside their pride and self-worth which merely masquerades as freedom.  They are no longer capable setting aside their love of themselves and therefore abandoning their place in Hell even if they wanted to do so.

C. S. Lewis was a remarkable thinker and an amazing Christian apologist.  If you, Dear Reader, are looking for a book upon which to meditate as part of your spiritual discipline, I highly recommend Lewis' The Great Divorce.  It is a fascinating exploration of Heaven and Hell that is on par with Dante's Divine Comedy but is, in my humble opinion, much more approachable and edifying.

Good reading and God bless.

Fr. Michael+

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