What cannot be admitted — what must exist only as an undefeated but daily resisted enemy — is the idea of something that is ‘our own’, some area in which we are to be ‘out of school’, on which God has no claim. … I do not think any efforts of my own will can end once and for all this craving for limited liabilities, this fatal reservation. Only God can. I have good faith and hope He will. Of course, I don’t mean that I can therefore, as they say, ‘sit back’. What God does for us, He does in us. The process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will in renouncing this attitude, especially each morning, for it grows all over me like a new shell each night. Failures will be forgiven; it is acquiescence that is fatal, the permitted, regularized presence of an area in ourselves which we still claim for our own. We may never, this side of death, drive the invader out of our territory, but we must be in the Resistance, not in the Vichy government. And this, so far as I can yet see, must be begun again every day. Our morning prayers should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere — grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet. — Ash Wednesday reading in The Business of Heaven: Daily Readings from C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, Walter Hooper. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1984). From C.S. Lewis’ last sermon, “A Slip of the Tongue” (Oxford in a small chapel in Evensong. Jan. 29, 1956), available in full in Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis. HarperCollins. 2001).
In the beginning of 2011, I picked up The Business of Heaven with a men’s discussion group at my home congregation. Thank-you John! I pass along this resource as a recommended reading, join me any time of the year and feel free to share your thoughts on Facebook or via email 🙂 By-the-way, the first paragraph of the Lewis quote in Lenten Preparations: A Time of Contrition serves as the February 23 reading in The Business of Heaven.
PS. Ash Wednesday Prayer 2011 (Christine Sine. 3/4/2011) and Another Prayer for Ash Wednesday (Christine Sine. 3/8/2011).
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
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