Eternal Reality of Weight of Glory

Weight of Glory

Now, if we are made for
heaven, the desire for our proper place will
be already in us, but not yet attached to
the true object, and will even appear as the
rival of that object. And this, I think, is
just what we find.

If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our
real destiny, then any other good on which
our desire fixes must be in some degree
fallacious, must bear at best only a
symbolical relation to what will truly
satisfy.

These things—the beauty, the memory of
our own past—are good images of what we
really desire; but if they are mistaken for
the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,
breaking the hearts of their worshippers.
For they are not the thing itself; they are
only the scent of a flower we have not
found, the echo of a tune we have not
heard, news from a country we have never
yet visited. Do you think I am trying to
weave a spell? Perhaps I am; but remember
your fairy tales. Spells are used for breaking
enchantments as well as for inducing them.
And you and I have need of the strongest
spell that can be found to wake us from
the evil enchantment of worldliness which
has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred
years. Almost our whole education has
been directed to silencing this shy,
persistent, inner voice; almost all our
modem philosophies have been devised to
convince us that the good of man is to be
found on this earth.

It is a serious thing
to live in a society of possible gods and
goddesses, to remember that the dullest
and most uninteresting person you talk to
may one day be a creature which, if you
saw it now, you would be strongly tempted

to worship, or else a horror and a
corruption such as you now meet, if at all,
only in a nightmare. All day long we are,
in some degree, helping each other to one
or other of these destinations. It is in the
light of these overwhelming possibilities, it
is with the awe and the circumspection
proper to them, that we should conduct all
our dealings with one another, all
friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have
never talked to a mere mortal.

I suddenly
remembered that no one can enter heaven
except as a child; and nothing is so obvious
in a child—not in a conceited child, but in
a good child

How God
thinks of us is not only more important,
but infinitely more important. Indeed,
how we think of Him is of no importance
except in so far as it is related to how He
thinks of us. It is written that we shall
“stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be
inspected. The promise of glory is the
promise, almost incredible and only
possible by the work of Christ, that some
of us, that any of us who really chooses,
shall actually survive that examination,
shall find approval, shall please God. To
please God…to be a real ingredient in the
divine happiness…to be loved by God, not
merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist
delights in his work or a father in a son—it
seems impossible, a weight or burden of
glory which our thoughts can hardly
sustain. But so it is.

the
humblest, the most childlike, the most
creaturely of pleasures—nay, the specific
pleasure of the inferior: the pleasure a beast
before men, a child before its father, a
pupil before his teacher, a creature before
its Creator.

And that is enough
to raise our thoughts to what may happen
when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope
and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that
she has pleased Him whom she was created
to please. There will be no room for vanity
then. She will be free from the miserable
illusion that it is her doing. With no taint
of what we should now call self-approval
she will most innocently rejoice in the
thing that God has made her to be, and
the moment which heals her old inferiority
complex for ever will also drown her pride
deeper than Prospero’s book. Perfect
humility dispenses with modesty. If God is
satisfied with the work, the work may be
satisfied with itself

In
the end that Face which is the delight or
the terror of the universe must be turned
upon each of us either with one expression
or with the other, either conferring glory
inexpressible or inflicting shame that can
never be cured or disguised. I read in a
periodical the other day that the
fundamental thing is how we think of
God. By God Himself, it is not! How God
thinks of us is not only more important,
but infinitely more important.

By ceasing for a moment
to consider my own wants I have begun to
learn better what I really wanted.

to bridge some chasm that yawns
between us and reality, is part of our
inconsolable secret. And surely, from this
point of view, the promise of glory, in the
sense described, becomes highly relevant to
our deep desire

For glory meant good
report with God, acceptance by God,
response, acknowledgment, and welcome
into the heart of things. The door on
which we have been knocking all our lives
will open at last.

Father open this world. Bring all Israel to peace and rest in their eternal inheritance

to appear at
last before the face of God and hear only
the appalling words: “I never knew you.
Depart from Me.” In some sense, as dark
to the intellect as it is unendurable to the
feelings, we can be both banished from the
presence of Him who is present
everywhere and erased from the knowledge
of Him who knows all. We can be left
utterly and absolutely outside—repelled,
exiled, estranged, finally and unspeakably
ignored. On the other hand, we can be
called in, welcomed, received,
acknowledged.

We walk every day on the
razor edge between these two incredible
possibilities. 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.

That is why the poets tell us such lovely
falsehoods
We do not
want merely to see beauty, though, God
knows, even that is bounty enough. We
want something else which can hardly be
put into words—to be united with the
beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it
into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become
part of it.

At
present we are on the outside of the world,
the wrong side of the door. We discern the
freshness and purity of morning, but they
do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot
mingle with the splendours we see. But all
the leaves of the New Testament are
rustling with the rumour that it will not
always be so. Some day, God willing, we
shall get in. When human souls have
become as perfect in voluntary obedience
as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless
obedience, then they will put on its glory,
or rather that greater glory of which
Nature is only the first sketch.

When all the suns and nebulae have
passed away, each one of you will still be
alive. Nature is only the image, the
symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture
invites me to use. We are summoned to
pass in through Nature, beyond her, into
that splendour which she fitfully reflects.

And in there, in beyond Nature, we shall
eat of the tree of life. At present, if we are
reborn in Christ, the spirit in us lives
directly on God; but the mind, and still
more the body, receives life from Him at a
thousand removes

What would it be to taste at the fountain-head that stream of
which even these lower reaches prove so
intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies
before us.

It is a serious thing
to live in a society of possible gods and
goddesses, to remember that the dullest
and most uninteresting person you talk to
may one day be a creature which, if you
saw it now, you would be strongly tempted

to worship, or else a horror and a
corruption such as you now meet, if at all,
only in a nightmare. All day long we are,
in some degree, helping each other to one
or other of these destinations. It is in the
light of these overwhelming possibilities, it
is with the awe and the circumspection
proper to them, that we should conduct all
our dealings with one another, all
friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.

There are no ordinary people. You have
never talked to a mere mortal.

But it is immortals whom we joke
with, work with, marry, snub, and
exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting
splendours. This does not mean that we
are to be perpetually solemn. We must
play. But our merriment must be of that
kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind)
which exists between people who have,
from the outset, taken each other
seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no
presumption. And our charity must be a
real and costly love, with deep feeling for
the sins in spite of which we love the
sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence
which parodies love as flippancy parodies
merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament
itself, your neighbour is the holiest object
presented to your senses.

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