Sunday, June 7, 2020

A Sunday Sermon

The Weight of Glory, by C.S. Lewis; Preached originally as a sermon in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, on June 8, 1942

I offer extracts; no comments from me.


If you asked twenty good men to-day what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love.

If a transtemporal, transfinite good is our real destiny, then any other good on which our desire fixes must be in some degree fallacious, must bear at best only a symbolical relation to what will truly satisfy.

And you and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years. …They begin by trying to persuade you that earth can be made into heaven…

If our religion is something objective, then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellent; for it will be precisely the puzzling or the repellent which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know.

I turn next to the idea of glory. …Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity. … fame with God, approval or (I might say) “appreciation’ by God. …And then, when I had thought it over, I saw that this view was scriptural; nothing can eliminate from the parable the divine accolade, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” …I suddenly remembered that no one can enter heaven except as a child; and nothing is so obvious in a child—not in a conceited child, but in a good child—as its great and undisguised pleasure in being praised.

Perhaps it seems rather crude to describe glory as the fact of being “noticed” by God. But this is almost the language of the New Testament. St. Paul promises to those who love God not, as we should expect, that they will know Him, but that they will be known by Him (I Cor. viii.3).

And this brings me to the other sense of glory—glory as brightness, splendour, luminosity. We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star.

…it may be asked what practical use there is in the speculations which I have been indulging. I can think of at least one such use. It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.


  1. Love in the broadest of terms. To accept others not just because of themselves, but in spite of themselves.

  2. I’m skeptical of that word, “love.” It has been overused to the point where it has little meaning. It can too easily be turned into meaning everything, or nothing. I prefer to save that word for my children, my spouse, my parents, my family, and a few others.

    Instead, my personal desire for myself is to act and feel good will toward others, always at least trying to give the benefit of the doubt. That is sufficient. Peg

    1. It is overused. We are raised to believe that it is a feeling, "I'm falling in love!"

      It is a doing. It is the acting part, not the feeling part, that demonstrates love.

    2. The word 'love' is and has been overused. It has little meaning to many people beyond the moment. Yet, we simply cannot discard it or restrict it for one reason: God loves us and we are commanded to love others. What does this mean if 'love' is only a word we use to say, "I feel good about you."?

      Love, in today's culture, is a means of getting something from someone else. Men give 'love' to get sex. Women give sex to get 'love'. Saying "I love you" can mean that I have ulterior motives or that I really like what you have done for me. Saying "I love you" can spring out of a lack of self-worth. This is not what love is, though, and it is to our own advantage to realize that.

      Love costs. Love has a cost and that is paid by the giver, not the one receiving the gift. Love expects nothing in return. Love demands nothing. Love takes human beings as they are, not as they are wished to be.

      Love sets us free. Love, the giving of ourselves to others who do not deserve our sacrifice, enables us to conquer the selfishness we are all born with. The opposite of selfishness may be unselfishness, but love is unselfishness practiced for the benefit of others regardless of the cost to oneself.

      After sixty-one years of life, I am just starting to understand that.

    3. Roger, the dialogue I have had here with you and others over the last few years has also moved me to a point where I am also just starting to understand this.

    4. Gentlemen,

      May I submit this article from one of my fellow Muslims (please excuse the fact it is on an alt-Right site, it is not at all alt-Right in content except for the fact it is very respectful to the European Tradition):

      Love vs love (i.e. idealism and romanticism) in the West is a very important issue to resolve.

      Roger wrote:
      "but love is unselfishness practiced for the benefit of others regardless of the cost to oneself."

      In Western root traditions, this is the way of the Mother as opposed to the Maiden. The Maiden that tries to be unselfish in "love" becomes solipsistic and prejudiced, gives what she thinks the other wants, without really understanding what they actually need.

      But to get to the Mother, that is able to understand the Other from the inside without words, we must allow the Maiden to complete here journey properly. She must be protected, allowed to be a bit self concerned within context. The SJWs know this instinctively (if express and act it out irrationally).

  3. Beautiful homily. What am I to do with friendship with the world when I can have friendship with God.