C.S. Lewis, TILL WE HAVE FACES
“For true friendship cannot really be true unless the love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit cements the friends together.”
Prior to his conversion, Augustine in his Confessions, movingly describes the misery he felt on the death of a close friend. This is the result, he says, of loving a fellow-creature too much. That mood of disappointment is nicely captured by C.S. Lewis in his book The Four Loves. Although he mistakenly identified this particular friend as Nebridius, Lewis rightly suggests that this aspect of Augustine’s thought is closer to ‘Stoic “apathy” or Neo-Platonic mysticism than to charity’. Rejecting what he takes to be Augustine’s quest for a risk-free-love, he overlooked the fact that this is from the hindsight of Augustine’s Christian conversion. Thus, his reflections on human love does not contradict Augustine’s view but rather strengthens it. Here’s what he said ( I don’t know how many times I have enjoyed reading this):
There is no escape along the lines St. Augustine suggests. Nor along any other lines. There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. (The Four Loves)
Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not. We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it. (The Four Loves)
Need I say more?