September 11, 2008

Dreaming of Virtue

Category: Theology - Pastoral :: Permalink

Here’s a snippet from one of C. S. Lewis’s letters to his friend Arthur Greeves.  He is discussing some books by George Macdonald:

Another fine thing in The Pr. & the Goblin is where Curdie, in a dream, keeps on dreaming that he has waked up and then finding that he is still in bed.  This means the same as the passage [in Macdonald’s Lilith] where Adam says to Lilith “Unless you unclose your hand you will never die & therefore never wake.  You may think you have died and even that you have risen again: but both will be a dream.”

This has a terrible meaning, specially for imaginative people.  We read of spiritual efforts, and our imagination makes us believe that, because we enjoy the idea of doing them, we have done them.  I am appalled to see how much of the change wh. I thought I had undergone lately was only imaginary.  The real work seems still to be done.  It is so fatally easy to confuse an aesthetic appreciation of the spiritual life with the life itself — to dream that you have waked, washed, and dressed, & then to find yourself still in bed. — Collected Letters 1.906.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:23 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Dreaming of Virtue”

  1. A.K. Shauku Says:

    Wow. I love Lewis and Macdonald. Have you ever read Phantastes?
    Much of my holiness is imaginary. I have good friends to pinch me every now and then.

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