Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For Your Reflection: Duty and Higher Law

My thoughts were mostly a muddle today and tonight, so rather than release a half-baked post, here is an idea from C.S. Lewis expressed two different ways for your reflection:
"It is very bad to reach the stage of thinking deeply and frequently about duty unless you are prepared to go a stage further. The Law, as St. Paul first clearly explained, only takes you to the school gates. Morality exists to be transcended. We act from duty in the hope that someday we shall do the same acts freely and delightfully." (From On Stories, p. 27)
"One difficulty is that here, as usual, we can take a wrong turn. A Christian--a somewhat too vocally Christian--circle or family, having grasped this principle, can make a show, in their overt behaviour and especially in their words, of having achieved the thing itself--an elaborate, fussy, embarrassing and intolerable show. Such people make every trifle a matter of explicitly spiritual importance--out loud and to one another (to God, on their knees, behind a closed door, it would be another matter). They are always unnecessarily asking, or insufferably offering, forgiveness. Who would not rather live with those ordinary people who get over their tantrums (and ours) unemphatically, letting a meal, a night's sleep, or a joke mend all? The real work must be, of all our works, the most secret. Even as far as possible secret from ourselves. Our right hand must not know what our left is doing. We have not got far enough if we play a game of cards with the children 'merely' to amuse them or to show that they are forgiven. If this is the best we can do we are right to do it. But it would be better if a deeper, less conscious, Charity threw us into a frame of mind in which a little fun with the children was the thing we should at the moment like best." (From The Four Loves, pp. 134-135).
Feel free to post your thoughts, comments, questions, or reflections in the comments.

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