Tahoma – “We may, indeed, be sure that perfect chastity – like perfect charity – will not be obtained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God’s help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity (or courage or truthfulness or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.” – C. S. Lewis, ‘Mere Christianity’
When I read this passage the first time, it was so revolutionary I read it again. When was the last time you were taught about this process? So many times we’re taught to do the best we can, anything beyond that shows how God feels about what we’re doing. If we’re doing well, good things happen. If we’ve messed things up then things won’t quit going wrong. I think, this teaching has become popular in the attempt to phase out the bad guy who tends to sabotague our best efforts and let us be in our worst efforts. Since we aren’t taught, those illusions aren’t challenged.
I learned a new word recently, two words actually. Twilight sleep. It refers to a state of being in which pain is dulled. I found it in the weirdest place, my dictionary. I’m sorry to say that now is a time of twilight sleep for the Church. We are conscious, but unconscious of the pain that exists to tell us that something is wrong. A some astute Christians might well be wide awake, but the task of waking up all other Christians is a difficult one.
Hebrews 6:1-3, ” 1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so.”
We sometimes forget that the task is to run the race, we won’t all arive at the finish line at the same time. We weren’t meant to. There are some who are able to go ahead, they need not be held back. There are some who need to learn the rules no matter how long it takes. It’s not profitable to keep back the sprinters to learn the rules or to hurry on the endurance runners like a sprinter. To do so does much more harm than good. We need to let the sprinters sprint, the endurers go at their own pace and let everybody else be everywhere else inbetween. As we well know, nobody simply runs a race. They train themselves by running. It is time for us to cheer our friends on no matter our pace and to get on running our own race.