"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Friday, February 27, 2009

Out of Place

It was St. Augustine who famously noted in his Confessions that our souls are restless until they find rest in thee. He was absolutely correct. True joy is only found in seeking out the fulness of God's presence in this world. Unfortunately, that qualifier, "in this world" must be attached as an addendum.

The Psalmist confesses that in God's presence is the fulness of joy (Ps. 16) The privileges of an indwelling Holy Spirit, and the presence of Christ in the Church through the sacraments are wonderful. And yet, we still see "darkly as through a glass." That phrase from St. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians is immediately followed by the phrase "but then, face to face." That is, we have not yet reached, I do not believe, the heights of joy that are prepared for those who love God. Nor can we in this world. And this leaves a small sense of want, desire...a feeling that something is missing; a longing that is never quite satisfied.

C.S. Lewis wrote In the Weight of Glory "Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache."

The notion that I was created for another world has been pressing on me the last couple of days. I'm not saying, "I want out" of this world. But there is simply nothing here I prefer to heaven and the fulness of God's presence. I pray all of your souls have found their rest in Christ...mine has. But I also hope you never limit your vision to what we see and experience here, even in the Church. The day is coming when we will see what no human eye has seen, and hear what no human ear has ever heard, and our small imaginations will be blown away by what God has prepared for us. In that paradise, we will see God "as he is" and the old ache and nostalgia will disappear in the joy of his eternal presence.

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