Once in a while, in addition to the Sacraments, He supplements it with an additional gift. Every so often He grants us the mental sustenance of a glimpse of the totality of his already victorious plan. He lifts our eyes above the fog and the haze of the daily Christian struggle to the see the glory of eternity, and the fullness of what we are called to be in Him.
This past week, without even knowing it, I was slowly succumbing to that fatigue. It is difficult not to when it seems that all of the forces of the world are bent on the demise of the Church and its faithful. However, yesterday during Adoration (a tremendous refreshment in and of itself), I was pointed to a book that helped me several years ago to realize the infinite joy of life in the faith, C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. I had not picked it up in some time, but flipped through it, eventually coming to the last chapter, "New Man."
In it, Lewis concludes his seminal work by reminding us of the mistake that we make in lowering our expectations to the frail, humanistic hope of the world around us. In doing so--in allowing our gaze to be distracted from Christ--we forget that He did not just come to change things and to improve the world a bit. As St. Paul reminds us in Romans 8, He came to be the New Man, to recreate us as new men, to restore us from being merely creatures to beloved sons, daughters, and heirs of God, and to bring about an unimaginable change in the history of salvation and of human events. Not only that, but the two thousand years since he walked the earth--just like each of our lifetimes--are only a blink in light of creation and, more importantly, of eternity:
"Compared with the development of man on this planet, the diffusion of Christianity over the human race seems to go like a flash of lightning--for two thousand years is almost nothing in the history of the universe. (Never forget that we are still 'the early Christians'. The present wicked and wasteful divisions between us are, let us hope, a disease of infancy: we are still teething. The outer world, no doubt, thinks just the opposite. It thinks we are dying of old age. But it has thought that very often before. Again and again it has thought Christianity was dying, dying by persecutions from without and corruptions from within, by the rise of Mohammedanism, the rise of the physical sciences, the rise of great anti-Christian revolutionary movements. But every time the world has been disappointed. Its first disappointment was over the crucifixion. The Man came to life again. In a sense--and I quite realise how frightfully unfair it must seem to them--that has been happening ever since. They keep on killing the thing that He started: and each time, just as they are patting down the earth on its grave, they suddenly hear that it is still alive and has broken out in some new place. No wonder they hate us.)"Yes! There is hope. Thank you C.S. Lewis for putting it so tangibly. The world is hard at work against us, but it will be disappointed. The battle is already won in eternity and will be made real in time, the faith will be sustained, and we will be made to live forever with Him. The gates of hell will not prevail. In Him and through Him the world will be transformed, and that reality is brought to bear in us. Back into the fight...