Friday, January 15, 2010

On all the pleasures of food and drink—and life: Screwtape complains, "God is a hedonist!"

In The Screwtape Letters by the great C.S. Lewis, the devil Screwtape gets very cross and, in a letter to his apprentice, Wormwood, he complains about God: "He's a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are "pleasures for evermore." Ugh! I don't think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He's vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least: sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working, Everything has to be twisted before it's any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side."

So true, Screwtape.

(PS Thanks to my son Mike who reminded me of this great quote!)

1 comment:

  1. Thomas Howard--who has written wonderfully on Lewis, as on many other things--tried to post a comment, but in an email to me he said that technology had defeated him. I told him I would post his comment for him:

    "As always, old CSL rings the bell. This theme of the sheer goodness and plenitude of the physical creation runs through all of his work, and should be shouted from the housetops to all earnest souls who, oddly, suppose that to be Christian is to turn one's back on the delights of the Creation--raspberries and heavy cream, muffins, wood smoke, and so forth (v. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver). Timmie has done us all a favor by hailing us with this robust bit from Lewis."

    At the end of his email, Tom added: "Um--I don't think my original was quite so sententious. Well, sic transit..."

    Thanks for the comment, Tom! I think it is great.