Sunday, November 25, 2012

A moment with CS Lewis

It's been a quiet few days with just the five of us (and Grampie) for our feast. We did feast, though, and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Beve just ate some pumpkin bread pudding for breakfast (a dessert I love so much I want it at my last meal!), and that's about par for the way we've been eating. However, such a sugar and fat hit to my usually austere diet has given me a rather bad migraine, so today I thought I'd simply  write some 'found' words (as Annie Dillard would say). I've quoted part of this before, but in context, it's brilliant and has governed my prayer life for many, many years.

From CS Lewis' Letters To Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer, page 22:

Your other question is one which, I think, really gets in pious people's way. It was, you remember, "How important must a need or desire be before we can properly make it the subject of a petition?" Properly, I take it, here means either "without reverence" or "without silliness", or both.
     When I thought about it for a bit, it seemed to me that there are really two questions involved.
      1. How important must an object be before we can, without sin or folly, allow our desire for it to become a matter of serious concern to us? This, you see, is a question about what old writers call our "frame"; that is, our "frame of mind."
     2. Granted the existence of such a serious concern in our minds, can it always be properly laid before God in prayer?
     We all know the answer to the first of these in theory. We must aim at what St. Augustine (is it?) calls "ordinate loves." Our deepest concerns should be for first things, and our next deepest for second things, and so on down to zero--to total absence of concern for things that are not really good, nor means to good, at all.
     Meantime, however, we want to know not how we should pray if we were perfect but how we should pray being as we now are. And if my idea of prayer as "unveiling" is accepted, we have already answered this. It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with the desire for B. We must lay before Him was is in us, not what ought to be in us. (emphasis mine)


M said...

Another sad fact of my life: never had pumpkin bread putting (let alone for breakfast).

Lewis has never really opened up to me, but I like his thoughts here.

jeskmom said...

Another reason you'll have to be at our house next year! Once you have it, you'll never go back!