Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Friday 31 December, 02004

Choosing

by Matthew Bartlett @ 5:48 pm

Today I read CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Amazing book. Enjoy a quote:

   ‘Is it? . . . is it?’ I whispered to my guide.
   ‘Not at all,’ said he. ‘It’s someone ye’ll never have heard of. Her name on earth was Sarah Smith and she lived at Golders Green.’
   ‘She seems to be . . . well, a person of particular importance?’
   ‘Aye. She is one of the great ones. Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things.’
   ‘And who are those gigantic people . . . look! They’re like emeralds . . . who are dancing and throwing flowers before her?’
   ‘Haven’t ye read your Milton? A thousand liveried angels lackey her.’
   ‘And who are all those young men and women on each side?’
   ‘They are her sons and daughters.’
   ‘She must have had a very large family, Sir.’
   ‘Every young man or boy that met her became her son—even if it was only the boy that brought the meat to her back door. Every girl that met her was her daughter.’
   ‘Isn’t that a bit hard on their own parents?’
   ‘No. There are those that steal other people’s children. But her motherhood was of a different kind. Those on whom it fell went back to their natural parents loving them more. Few men looked on her without becoming, in a certain fashion, her lovers. But it was the kind of love that made them not less true, but truer, to their own wives.’
   ‘And how . . . but hullo! What are all these animals? A cat—two cats—dozens of cats. And all those dogs . . . why, I can’t count them. And the birds. And the horses.”
   ‘They are her beasts.’
   ‘Did she keep a sort of zoo? I mean, this is a bit too much.’
   ‘Every beast and bird that came near her had its place in her love. In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ from the Father flows over into them.’
   I looked at my Teacher in amazement.
   ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘It is like when you throw a stone into a pool, and the concentric waves spread out further and further. Who knows where it will end? Redeemed humanity is still young, it has hardly come to its full strength. But already there is joy enough in the little finger of a great saint such as yonder lady to waken all the dead things of the universe into life.’

3 Responses to “Choosing”

  1. Interesting (and intriguing who this Sarah Smith was). C.S.Lewis is on my list of must reads, like the Inklings and McLuhan, put off so far only by the overt catholicism.
    Thanks Matt
    Ian

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