I read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis this summer. It is an amazing journey of depth. CS Lewis was an atheist who found God. He became one of the most influential authors of Christianity. This book was written in 1943 and every word of it still resonates with our American culture today. Archbishop Robert Barron suggested that every high school theology curriculum should require this reading. I am not sure that my students could handle or comprehend its depth.
The conclusion of the book confirms what I have been taught through my Master’s program, Mindfulness classes, and my spiritual journey of life. It takes losing one’s self to gain a true sense of self. It says this in the scriptures, this idea falls from the mouth of Jesus Christ, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life” John 12:24-25 This idea doesn’t seem to make sense in our American culture of individualism. The Christian beliefs are counter-cultural, Jesus Christ always flipped everything upside down and he asks us to continue to do the same today.
CS Lewis reverberates this same idea in his conclusion, “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of our whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
It is a journey in one’s life to learn selflessness. The journey can be made less painful if one’s teachers and guides live this life of selflessness. Living in a culture of greed, avarice, and individualism usually stunts this idea of selflessness. Most people think it suspect, what if you become vulnerable, or someone takes advantage of your good nature? What then will become of a person? Do it anyway. Living is not living to our fullest potential if one only lives for self. Living for others, loving, willing the good of another at all costs, is what Christ requires. Being a Christian was not advertised as the easy road. All but one disciple was tortured and martyred for this belief. A true Christian strives towards this end. One will try, fail, try, fail, and try again. Reconciliation, spiritual directors, scriptures, classes, every sacrament, and the love of Jesus Christ will aid in living this type of existence.
Am I truly willing to go to the cross, give up myself, my life, and all that I “have” for Jesus Christ? This is the journey, even if we only get a few steps forward before we fall a few steps back it is worth the effort. There is no greater liberation than letting one’s self be commended into the hands of God.