“The rock was Christ”: St Benedict and C.S. Lewis on Psalm 137

The Rule of St Benedict is traditionally divided into daily readings, running through the full Rule three times a year. The cycle has just restarted, and the reading for 5 May covers part of the Prologue, in which St Benedict asks the question posed in Psalm 15: But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet, “Lord, who shall …

Bringing hell upon ourselves

A subsidiary theme from Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Dare We Hope? (see previous post) is that of self-damnation: in other words, the assertion that the hell with which Jesus and the New Testament writers confront me if I persist in rejecting God is one which is brought on myself, rather than something imposed on me …

Remembering Cair Paravel

The castle of Cair Paravel on its little hill towered up above them; before them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach. And oh, the cry of the sea-gulls! …

A delightful, horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite post

I enjoyed this letter from C.S. Lewis giving advice on how to write, especially his fourth point: Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say …

C.S. Lewis on same-sex marriage. Again.

In the introduction to his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis warns against “spiritualising and refining” the word “Christian” so that it ends up as just a general word of praise for describing someone as a “good person”. Lewis compares this with what happened to “another, and very much less important, word”: The word gentleman originally …

Incidents and accidents, stars and sacraments

So I was looking at some Lutheran confirmation materials the other day. They were revision notes in a Q&A format, and in the section on the sacrament of the altar there were (as I recall) two questions on the elements in the Supper being the body and blood of Christ, but three questions on the …

Why “ought” we to do anything?

In the early chapters of Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis builds up an argument for God’s existence based on our sense of morality: what Lewis calls the “Law of Human Nature”. I don’t propose to look at that argument in this post, but just at one particular point Lewis makes in response to a common objection: …

Why bother with personal devotions?

I’m currently re-(re-re-re-…)reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and among the many things that have struck me with fresh force have been Lewis’s thoughts on the value of what we might call “personal devotions”, above all individual prayer and Bible reading. In the first of two chapters on Faith, Lewis defines the virtue of faith …

What is the doctrine of the Trinity for?

In a recent BHT post, I mentioned that the doctrine of the Trinity was never a barrier to faith for me, but instead one of the key teachings that drew me back to the Christian faith. This was particularly true of C.S. Lewis’s account of the Trinity in Mere Christianity. Lewis addresses the Trinity in …