Thursday, April 5, 2012

romantic theology

In C.S. Lewis class right now, which is my last class before Easter break. But, as I told a friend, this isn't even a class. It's basically candy. And we're discussing the Weight of Glory, which is the most beautiful of essays. Discussing the natural beauty of the world we see around us, Lewis writes:

For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

The whole beauty of creation calls us further up and further in, to bring us home to our rightful place in the universe. Which is:

To be loved by God, [...] delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a son--it seems impossible, a weight of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.

This is lofty, as Bottom would say. The Triduum is about to start, and we're about to immerse ourselves in beautiful, dramatic, and very real rituals of Holy Week. As our professor was pointed out in our theatre/history class, these rituals are not unique to Christianity. 
And that's entirely the point. As C.S. Lewis writes in Miracles, the ancient myths, legends, and rituals lead up to Christianity. In Christianity they find their fulfillment. For example: the myth of the Corn King--of the god dying, descending to the underworld, and arising again in the spring is an ancient myth that exists in almost every culture. But the Incarnation is when the myth became true. When the word took flesh, and dwelt among us--in a specific time and place in history. The legend became truth. The ancient rituals take on a newer and deeper meaning with Christ and Christianity, because they lead us deeper into the heart of the natural world and through it, to the reality of glory that lies beyond it. It is, as Lewis said, a weight almost to great for our minds to bear.

"It would break your heart."
"Why," I asked, "was it sad?" 
"Oh no."

--Voyage of the Dawn Treader

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