15 February 2011

Library Book Sale!!

For a few years now I've been waiting for a copy of "L'Abri" to become available at Paperbackswap. So imagine my thrilled suprise when halfway through the boxes of books I found what looked like a brand new copy of L'Abri sitting right in front of me. I gasped audibly and grabbed it! It seems like at least one of these "treasures" pops up each time I go to a sale.

I went through about 150 boxes of ten cent books and found a complete set of The Chronicles of Narnia. I had to get them, of course. They were only ten cents each! Their deal of the day was all the ten centers you could fit in any size box for $1! I only found about 12, so it wasn't a big savings, but it was tons of fun.

Picked up some fun books and donated some back. Gotta keep the shelves full, but not TOO full. :)

04 February 2011

The Law of Undulation...

Every couple of years my mom sends me a copy of this part of C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters". I love the message and thought I'd put it here for all to read. For those who haven't read this book, Screwtape is a demon who is mentoring his nephew Wormwood. So when he refers to the Enemy, he is talking about God and when he refers to Our Father, he means Satan. Enjoy!

So you "have great hopes that the patient's religious phase is dying away", have you? I always thought the Training
College had gone to pieces since they put old Slubgob at the head of it, and now I am sure. Has no one ever told you
about the Law of Undulation?
Humans are amphibians—half spirit and half animal. (The Enemy's determination to produce such a revolting hybrid
was one of the things that determined Our Father to withdraw his support from Him.) As spirits they belong to the
eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object,
their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time means to change. Their nearest
approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation—the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a
series of troughs and peaks. If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every
department of his life—his interest in his work, his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down.
As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of
numbness and poverty. The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly
suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good
use of it.
To decide what the best use of it is, you must ask what use the Enemy wants to make of it, and then do the opposite.
Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even
more than on the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else.
The reason is this. To us a human is primarily good; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our
own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy demands of men is quite a different thing. One
must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would
gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome
little replicas of Himself—creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because
He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He
wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be
filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into
himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.
And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His
power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the
Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely
to over-ride a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do)
would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the
creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is
prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which,
though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows
this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all
those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs—to carry out from the will alone
duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is
growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which
please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and
the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot "tempt" to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to
walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their
stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring,
but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have
vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
But of course the troughs afford opportunities to our side also. Next week I will give you some hints on how to exploit
Your affectionate uncle