Friday, March 18, 2011

C.S. Lewis on the spirituality of Avatar

But we need not surrender the love of nature.... Nature cannot satisfy the desires she arouses nor answer theological questions nor sanctify us. Our real journey to God involves constantly turning our backs on her; passing from the dawn-lit fields into some poky little church, or (it might be) going to work in an East End parish. But the love of her has been a valuable and, for some people, an indispensable initiation. avatar-pandora     I need not say ‘has been’. For in fact those who allow no more than this to the love of nature seem to be those who retain it. This is what one should expect. This love, when it sets up as a religion, is beginning to be a god — therefore to be a demon. And demons never keep their promises. Nature ‘dies on’ those who try to live for a love of nature. Coleridge ended by being insensible to her; Wordsworth, by lamenting that the glory had passed away. Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (1960; Harcourt: 1988) 21-22.

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