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The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Continuare de aici.

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

5) Charity (agape)

5.1 The insufficiency of the natural loves

As we saw until now, natural loves are not self-sufficient. Something else – which Lewis consider to be the whole Christian life in one particular relation – must „come to help of the mere feeling if the feeling is to be kept sweet”.

He considers that the natural loves are similar to a garden. A garden „will not fence and weed itself, nor prune its own trees, nor roll and cut its own lawns”. It will remain a garden, as distinct from a wilderness, only if someone does these things to it. When God planted the garden of our nature and caused the flowering, fruiting loves to grow there, He set our wills to „dress” them. Compared with the loves, our will is dry and cold. And until God’s grace comes down, like the rain and the sunshine, we shall use this tool (the will) to little purpose. But its laborious- and largely negative – services are indispensable.

Until now we saw that the loves prove that they are unworthy to take the place of God, by the fact that they cannot even remain themselves and do what they promise without God’s help: Affection can be distorted „when it becomes a need-love that demands affection in turn, as a right, and thus producing hatred”; Or when, in „living for others”, makes their lives unbearable. Friendship can be distorted when the shared interest is evil; or produces arrogance and isolation when the group becomes an „inner ring”. Eros is like Love Himself, in a reflected form; and therefore more liable than the other loves to corruption, to becoming a sort of religion; the god Eros dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God.[1]

The conclusion is that, even for their own sake, the loves must submit to God if they are to remain the things they want to be: Affection needs a real disinterested charity for the other if it wants to avoid becoming obsessive. Friendship needs to have charity also as a guarantee that the shared interest will not become egoist and evil, and that it will not produce arrogance and isolation, hurting and neglecting the others. Eros needs charity if he wants to keep his promises, especially when the selfishness appear, or when one or both partners become, at least in some respects, unattractive or unworthy of love. (mai mult…)

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The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Titlul original: The Four Loves
Autor: C.S. Lewis
Localitate: New York
Editura: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Anul apariţiei: 1991
Nr. de pagini: 156
ISBN: 9780151329168

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

Introduction

C.S.Lewis starts The Four Loves confessing that when he first tried to write this book, he had a wrong image (or rather a very simplistic image) of the subject.

It seems that the-view he had then is common among Christians; before I read his book I had the same image too: the idea that the only true love is the love that gives, because the love of God is a Giving love (a Gift-love by definition). For that reason – in that perspective – we really love just in so far as our love resembles that Love which is God. In that respect, when we tell to our beloved: „I need you, I cannot live without you”, we do not really love him (or her). The real love is that love which says: I do not need you, I can live without you; in fact, exactly because I can live without you, and I am a complete person, perfectly fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can enter in a love relations hip. The goal in that relationship will be not to find my fulfillment, not to receive something (I am already fulfilled by God), but to give, to make the other happy.

This image is not bad (in fact the final arguments of C.S.Lewis are very close to these ideas), but it is not perfectly good because it is not complete. The reality of love is more complex – says Lewis. It is difficult, in his opinion to affirm that the Need-Love is not a real love, firstly because our love for God is – more than everything – a Need-Love. We come to God utterly aware that our whole being is one vast need, crying out for Him when we need forgiveness or support in our tribulations, or many other things.[1]  On the other side, even in our daily situations, it is difficult, for example, to affirm that a child’s love for his mother, which is more than anything else a Need-love, is not a real love.

Thus, understanding the complexity of the situation, Lewis begins to analyze more deeply five kinds of loves: Loves for Sub-Human, Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity (Agape). In this essay, my interest will be especially focused on the last two kinds of love, Eros and Charity. But I will present also shortly the first three kinds of love, in the measure in which to understand them is absolutely necessary for a better comprehension of the last two loves.

As we will see, Charity (Agape) still remains the most important love; but the other four loves will be also accepted as true loves. In that way God’s Creation (in the area of affections) will be honored and redeemed.

1) Loves for the Sub-Human (mai mult…)

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via: thegospelcoalition.org

via: thegospelcoalition.org

  1. C.S. Lewis, Creștinismul redus la esențe, Wheaton, Illinois, SMR, 1991.
  2. C.S. Lewis, Despre minuni. Cele patru iubiri. Problema durerii, trad. Sorin Mărculescu, București, Humanitas, 1997, 2012.
  3. C.S. Lewis, Despre minuni, trad. Sorin Mărculescu, București, Humanitas, 2001, 2007.
  4. C.S. Lewis, Creștinism. Pur și simplu, trad. Dan Rădulescu, București, Humanitas, 2004
  5. C.S. Lewis, Desființarea omului, trad. Petruța-Oana Năiduț, București, Humanitas, 2004.
  6. C.S. Lewis, Treburi cerești (2 vol.), trad. Mirela Adăscăliței, București, Humanitas, 2005
  7. C.S. Lewis, Problema durerii, trad. Vlad Russo, București, Humanitas, 2007.
  8. C.S. Lewis, Surprins de bucurie. Povestea unei convertiri, trad. Emanuel Conțac, București, Humanitas, 2008, 2011.
  9. C.S. Lewis, Despre lumea aceasta și despre alte lumi, trad. Bianca Rizzoli, București, Humanitas, 2011.
  10. C.S. Lewis, Ferigi și elefanți și alte eseuri despre creștinism, trad. Emanuel Conțac, București, Humanitas, 2012.
  11. C.S. Lewis, Meditații la Psalmi, trad. Emanuel Conțac, București, Humanitas, 2013.
  12. C.S. Lewis, Marea despărțire. Un vis, trad. Alexandru Macovescu, București, Humanitas, 2013.
  13. C.S. Lewis, Anatomia unei dureri, trad. Cornel Țicărat, Oradea, Kerigma, 2014.

Ficțiune:

  1. C.S. Lewis, Leul, vrăjitoarea și dulapul, trad. necunoscut, an 1977(?).
  2. C.S. Lewis, Scrisorile lui Zgândărilă. Scrisorile unui drac bătrân către un drac tânăr, trad. Mirela Rădoi, Cluj, Logos, 1993.
  3. C.S. Lewis, Leul, vrăjitoarea și garderoba, trad. Rodica Albu, Iași-Chișinău, Junimea-Hyperion, 1993.
  4. C.S. Lewis, Departe de planeta tăcută, trad. Mirela Rădoi, Cluj, Logos, 1995.
  5. C.S. Lewis, Nepotul magicianului (vol. 1 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Larisa Avram, București, RAO, 1997, 2006.
  6. C.S. Lewis, Șifonierul, leul și vrăjitoarea (vol. 2 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Larisa Avram, București, RAO, 1997, 2006.
  7. C.S. Lewis, Calul și băiatul (vol. 3 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Simona Neagu, București, RAO, 1998, 2006.
  8. C.S. Lewis, Prințul Caspian (vol. 4 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Larisa Avram, București, RAO, 1999, 2006.
  9. C.S. Lewis, Călătorie pe mare cu Zori-de-Zi (vol. 5 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Irina Negrea, București, RAO, 2000, 2006.
  10. C.S. Lewis, Jilțul de argint (vol. 6 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Irina Negrea, București, RAO, 2003, 2006.
  11. C.S. Lewis, Ultima bătălie (vol. 7 din Cronicile din Narnia), trad. Irina Negrea, București, RAO, 2003, 2006.
  12. C.S. Lewis, Sfaturile unui diavol bătrân către unul mai tânăr, trad. Sorana Cornean, București, Humanitas, 2003, 2007, 2010.

Multimedia:

  1. C.S. Lewis, Sfaturile unui diavol bătrân către unul mai tânăr, audiobook, lectura Mircea Diaconu, București, Humanitas Multimedia, 2008.
  2. Leul, vrăjitoarea și dulapul, film, regia: Andrew Adamson, 2005.
  3. Prințul Caspian, film, regia: Andrew Adamson, 2008.
  4. Călătorie pe mare cu Zori-de-Zi, film, regia: Michael Apted, 2010.

În alte volume:

  1. Abolirea omului, trad. Rodica Albu, în Rodica Albu (coord.), Inklings. Litera și spiritul, Iași, Ed. Universității Al.I. Cuza, 2004.
  2. Trilogia spațială (fragment), trad. Mihaela Morariu, în Rodica Albu (coord.), Inklings. Litera și spiritul, Iași, Ed. Universității Al.I. Cuza, 2004.
  3. Cronicile din Narnia: Jilțul de argint (fragment), trad. Teodora Ghivrigă, în Rodica Albu (coord.), Inklings. Litera și spiritul, Iași, Ed. Universității Al.I. Cuza, 2004.
  4. Sheldon Vanauken – Îndurare aspră, trad. Gela Bâlc, Oradae, Kerigma, 2008 (conține 18 scrisori adresate de către C.S. Lewis autorului).

Despre C.S. Lewis:

  1. Rodica Albu (coord.), Inklings. Litera și spiritul, Iași, Ed. Universității Al.I. Cuza, 2004. (conține trei articole semnate de Hope Kirkpatrick, „C.S. Lewis – un autor al zilelor noastre”, Daniel Callam, „Mere Cristianity și paradigma puritană a convertirii” și Rodica Albu, „Leul, vrăjitoarea și garderoba – lecturi posibile”).
  2. Colin Duriez, O călăuză prin Narnia și prin întreaga operă a lui C.S. Lewis, trad. Maria Ștefănescu și Valentin Dan, Cluj, Aqua Forte, 2008.

Link-uri către site-uri și bloguri românești cu recenzii și postări despre C.S. Lewis:

  1. Recenzii pe Bookblog
  2. Grete Tartler, „C.S. Lewis și literatura pentru copii” (recenzie la Despre lumea aceasta și despre alte lumi, în România literară)
  3. Sorin Lavric, „Săgeata bucuriei” (recenzie la Surprins de bucurie, în România literară)
  4. Codrin Liviu Cuțitaru – Disecția unui sentiment (recenzie la Surprins de bucurie, în Dilemateca, octombrie, 2013).
  5. Daniel Fărcaș, „Surprins de C.S. Lewis” (recenzie la Surprins de bucurie)
  6. Articole pe blogul Societății Tolkien din România 
  7. Postări pe blogul lui Emanuel Conțac.
  8. Teodor Dănălache pe crestinortodox.ro
  9. Cătălina Neculai, „Apologetica creştină literară şi intelectualizarea credinţei. Cazul C.S. Lewis
  10. Dragoș Dâscă – „Lecție de mântuire a creștinului obișnuit
  11. Articole pe Revizia de carte
  12. Texte ale lui Liviu Horvath
  13. Recenzii pe Scriptorie
  14. Texte de Bebe Ciaușu pe blogul Guarding the Gospel

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 the-great-divorceTitlu: The Great Divorce

Autor: C.S. Lewis
Oraș: 
San Francisco
Editură: HarperOne
Anul apariţiei: 1945 (prima ediție), 2002 (ediția folosită)
ISBN: 0-02-570550-4 (prima ediție)

Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

The Great Divorce is in a sense C.S. Lewis ‘retort’ to Blake’s book: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. In the ‘Preface’ to his book, C.S. Lewis rejects the modern idea that somehow ‘the reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable ‘either-or’; that granted skill and patience and time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found;’ and that ‘mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil in good’.[1] On the contrary, C.S. Lewis considers that between good and evil there is a continuous opposition and that in our world ‘every road, after a few miles forks in two, each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision’[2]. Not all who choose the wrong roads perish, but if they want to be rescued, they ought to being put back on the right path; that means they should go back to their error and to continue going on the correct path from that point. In that sense, between Heaven and Hell is a great separation or ‘a great divorce’. C.S. Lewis doesn’t consider, like Hegel that there is always a good and necessary negativity. On the contrary, ‘if we insist on keeping Hell (or Earth), we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell’[3].

In other words, one of the main ideas of the author is that our choices really matter, that we have a tremendous responsibility; everything in this world costs. In the chapter 9 of his book, C.S. Lewis has a dialogue with George Mac Donald, his spiritual mentor, in which it is given to us a reason why some people choose the wrong· path: ‘better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven’. Augustine said in The City of God that there are just two kind of people: some who love themselves more than everything else, and some who love God more than everything else. In the same sense, George Mac Donald, the ‘Teacher’, explains to the author that ‘there are only two kind of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.’[4]

In different ways, all the dialogues of the book describe, with only one exception, peoples who choose the path of pride and. selfishness, preferring to better reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, because they love themselves more than everything else. One of them is characterized by self-righteousness, refusing the grace of God; a liberal theologian prefers the ‘dynamic’ theological speculation in Hell to the absolute and perfect revelation of Truth in Heaven; a mother and a lover turn their natural affections in false gods instead of really loving the others, and so on; at the origin of all these attitudes which continuous devour their victims is the same sin: selfishness or pride.


[1] C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, Harper San Francisco, 2002, pg. vii.

[2] Idem, pg. viii.

[3] Idem.

[4] Idem, pg. 75.

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Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

 1. Lewis’ view of the afterlife, especially in the books The problem of pain and The Great Divorce

 

C.S.Lewis’ book The Great Divorce has a title which reflects very well his view about Heaven and Hell. Between Heaven and Hell there is ‘a great divorce’. ‘If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.’[1] Moreover, from an afterlife point of view, not only Heaven, but even Earth and eventually Purgatory, will be Heaven for those who are saved, and vice-versa, not only Hell, but even Earth will be Hell for those who are lost[2]. What is the rationale for such an extreme separation?

The motive of such a strong ‘divorce’ is the way these two groups chose. The reality of our human freedom and responsibility stays beyond this separation. Our choices on this earth matter more then we imagine. Lewis rejects the idea that there is a second chance for the people who chose on this world wrong. He considers that ‘if a million chances were likely to do good, they would be given. God, in His divine omniscience is like a master who knows, when boys and parents do not, that it is really useless to send a boy in for certain examination again’[3]. The conception of ‘second chance’ is not to be confused for Lewis with that or Purgatory, for there souls are already saved.

The Hell, in C.S. Lewis’ description is a place inhabited by the people who loved themselves more than anything else. These are the people to whom God told in the end: ‘Thy will be done’. What is very interesting and new for me in Lewis’ description of Hell is the fact that ‘in a sense, the doors of Hell are locked on inside, and the people there enjoy forever the horrible freedom they demanded, and therefore are self-enslaved’[4] That seems to me puzzling at first sight, because in the New Testament, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the damned there wish to come out of Hell. However, Lewis agrees with this biblical image. Probably in a sense, in his view, all the damned ghosts want to come out from that place, to be happy, but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good: ‘better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven’[5].

This attitude of self- centeredness is common to almost all the damned personages from The Great Divorce. Whenever they have to choose between loving themselves and loving the others, they prefer themselves, even if that means their returning to Hell. Because they are so selfish, they hate the others , and for that reason the Hell is a place where people live separately: they cannot support each other. In that sense, Sartre’s well-known statement „L’Enfer c’est !’autre”, is very real here. The only torture of the people in Hell is their selfishness manifested in each one’s specific sins. In the sense, the wrong use of freedom , the sin, devours the people who submit to it. In the end they are not even persons; rather they become finally un-persons, un-men (as the grumbler lady becomes in the end only a grumble).

On the other side, Heaven is the opposite of Hell. If the people in Hell tend to become non-persons, tend to be less and less themselves, on the contrary, in Heaven people become more and more themselves. The blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through eternity, more and more free. Their choice was to tell God: ‘Thy will be done’. They loved God more than they loved themselves. Somehow the law of heaven is the law of abandon: he that loses his soul will save it. Hence it is truly said of Heaven that ‘in heaven there is no ownership’. To its fellow-creatures, each soul, we suppose, will be eternally engaged in giving away to all the rest that which it receives. There will be in the end a kind of eternal holy game, in which every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it[6].

There will be, as in the end of the novel Perelandra, an Eternal Dance, an eternal and happy and perfect union between distincts, on the model of Holy Trinity (and together with the Holy Trinity). In opposition with Hell, which is a place of shadows, more unreal than Earth, the Heaven will be the place of the full reality. We will be there more real than we ever dreamed, in the presence of the Triune God, the perfect Reality. It will be there the beginning of the Great Story, the Morning, the end of our dream here on Earth[7].

I totally agree with C.S. Lewis vision of the afterlife. I find that it helped me to solve some of my previous difficulties very well. My only reserve regards his belief in Purgatory. I doubt that there will be such a place, because I consider that if a person really believes in Christ, then that should be demonstrated in his daily life. I doubt that in Heaven will be ‘believers’ who lived on earth in ‘joyful’ sinning. If they lived on earth in sin and were believers, then probably they suffered a lot because of that (not necessary more than the more ‘holy’ believers, but enough as to not consider that their life on earth was happy and to crave for Heaven). And maybe the fact that probably even in Heaven will be grades of reward can be helpful when we think at this problem. (mai mult…)

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treburi cerestiTitlu: Treburi cerești. Lecturi zilnice (2 vol.)
Titlul original: The Business of Heaven
Autor: C.S. Lewis
Traducător: Mirela Adăscăliței
Localitate: București
Editura: Humanitas
Anul apariţiei: 2005
Nr. de pagini: vol. I: 224, vol. II: 240
ISBN: 973-50-1006-2
Preț: 19,98 RON

Recenzie de Teofil Stanciu

Nimeni nu ştie cu adevărat cât de rău este
până în momentul în care încearcă din răsputeri să fie bun.”

„Un creştin nu este un om care nu greşeşte niciodată, ci unul care are capacitatea
de a se căi şi de a se ridica, luând-o de la capăt după fiecare poticnire.”
(C.S. Lewis)

C.S. Lewis e dintre acei puțini autori creștini utili ca portstindard. Când vrei să scoți în față un intelectual creștin de calibru, cu oarece orientare mai evanghelică, irlandezul se impune aproape de la sine. E un fel de reflex „cultural”. Trăiesc în continuare însă cu impresia, mărturisită și cu altă ocazie, că Lewis e mai mult citat decât citit.

Cartea pe care încerc să o prezint aici a fost concepută de către Walter Hooper, secretar personal (pentru scurtă vreme) a lui C.S. Lewis și „administratorul patrimoniului literar” al autorului, după moartea acestuia. Gândite sub forma unor meditații zilnice, cele două volume (ale traducerii românești) conțin fragmente din diferite scrieri, inventariate la final pe zile și titluri.

Se poate spune că Lewis este un apologet inteligent, lucid și onest al creștinismului, dar totodată este un autor incomod, a-normal, deconstructivist, conservator, vizionar, prudent, înțelept, ironic, împăciutor, necruțător, rafinat. Nu insist cu epitetele acestea decât pentru a sugera multiplele fațete ale scrisului său de înaltă ținută culturală și incontestabilă valoare creștină.

Ceea ce m-a surprins de fiecare dată la acest autor a fost concizia cu care reușește să tranșeze subiecte ce, la noi sau aiurea, stârnesc adesea dispute aprinse îndelungi, dar sterile. Socot că e o dovadă de înalt discernământ spiritual capacitatea de a sesiza esențialul și de a nu disprețui amănuntul semnificativ.

Reflexele mele cultural-educaţional-religioase (dobândite în mediul creştin natal) au fost puse la grea şi meritată încercare în confruntarea cu ideile lui Lewis. Am primit o lovitură în mult clamata şi fundamentala (aşa mi s-a sugerat) simplitate a religiei creștine:

„Nu folosește la nimic o religie simplă. În definitiv, lucrurile reale nu sunt simple. Ele par simple, dar nu sunt.” (vol. 2, p. 119).

La fel şi adulata sistematizare imperios necesară:

„Putem observa că învățăturile Mântuitorului nostru, în care nu există nicio imperfecțiune, nu ne sunt date în acea formă șablon, precisă, sistematică pe care am fi așteptat-o sau dorit-o. Nu avem decât spuse relatate de alții, cele mai multe rostite ca răspuns la întrebări, turnate în oarecare măsură în tiparul contextului. Iar atunci când le vom fi adunat pe toate, tot nu le vom putea reduce la un sistem. El propovăduiește, dar nu ține prelegeri. S-a folosit de paradoxe, proverbe, exagerări, parabole, ironii” (vol. 2, pag. 130).

Mi s-a inoculat – cel mai probabil şi cu concursul meu – discret, dar eficient (prin felul în care erau judecate şi pedepsite) ideea că păcatele care afectează imaginea sunt dintre cele mai grave. Când colo, iată ce citesc în Lewis:

„Păcatele trupului sunt rele, însă cel mai puţin rele dintre toate păcatele. Cele mai rele plăceri sunt toate pur spirituale: plăcerea de a-i scoate pe alţii vinovaţi, de a te purta despotic şi condescendent, de a strica plăcerea altora, de a vorbi de rău pe la spate; plăcerile puterii şi ale urii” (vol. 1, pag. 110).

Autorul continuă în aceeaşi notă:

„Diavolul râde. El este foarte mulţumit să vă vadă devenind caşti, curajoşi şi stăpâni pe sine atâta timp cât el îşi instaurează fără încetare în voi Dictatura Mândriei – la fel de mulţumit ar fi el să vă vadă vindecaţi de degerături dacă, în schimb, ar fi lăsat să vă dea un cancer. Căci Mândria este un cancer spiritual: ea devorează însăşi posibilitatea iubirii, a mulţumirii, sau chiar a bunului-simţ.” (vol. 1, pag. 114).

Când venea vorba de virtute, am crezut multă vreme că, odată ce eu am renunţat la anumite lucruri (nu neapărat vicioase, dar pasibile de viciu) musai să-i determin şi pe alţii să renunţe. (mai mult…)

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