Friday, April 09, 2004

Lewis Letters

Some excerpts:
  • To Mrs. Vera Gerbert. 17 December 1954.
    Would you believe it; an American school girl has been expelled from her school for having in her possession a copy of my Screwtape. I asked my informant whether it was a Communist school, or a Fundamentalist school, or an RC school, and got the shattering answer, 'No, it was a select school'. That puts a chap in his place, doesn't it? . . .

  • To Mrs. Edward A. Allen. 1 November 1954.

    * * *
    Do you know, the suffering of the innocent is less of a problem to me v. often than that of the wicked. It sounds absurd; but I've met so many innocent sufferers who seem to be gladly offering their pain to God in Christ as part of the Atonement, so patient, so meek, even so at peace, and so unselfish that we can hardly doubt they are being, as St. Paul says, 'made perfect by suffering'. On the other hand I meet selfish egoists in whom suffering seems to produce only resentment, hate, blasphemy, and more egoism. They are the real problem.
    * * *

  • To a lady. 18 Feb. 1954.

    * * *
    I know one doesn't even want to be cured of one's pride because it gives pleasure. But the pleasure of pride is like the pleasure of scratching. If there is an itch one does want to scratch; but it is much nicer to have neither the itch nor the scratch. As long as we have the itch of self-regard we shall want the pleasure of self-approval; but the happiest moments are those when we forget our precious selves and have neither but have everything (God, our fellow humans, animals, the garden and the sky) instead.
    * * *

  • To Miss Ruth Pitter. January 1951.

    What is the point in keeping in touch with the contemporary scene? Why shd. one read authors one doesn't like because they happen to be alive at the same time as oneself? One might as well read everyone who had the same job or the same coloured hair or the same income or the same chest measurement, as far as I can see.

  • To Mrs. L. 27 Sept. 1949.

    The moment one asks oneself 'Do I believe?' all belief seems to go. I think this is because one is trying to turn round and look at something which is there to be used and work from -- trying to take out one's eyes instead of keeping them in the right place and seeing with them. I find that it happens about other matters as well as faith. In my experience only v. robust pleasures will stand the question, 'Am I really enjoying this?' Or attention -- the moment I being thinking about my attention (to a book or lecture) I have ipso facto ceased attending. St. Paul speaks of 'Faith actualized in Love'. And 'the heart is deceitful'; you know better than I how very unreliable introspection is. I shd. be much more alarmed about your progress if you wrote claiming to be overflowing with Faith, Hope, and Charity.


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