Joy and Longing as Gateways to God

C. S. Lewis, famous of course for his Narnia stories, was well known in his own time as a major defender of Christianity, someone who made the core beliefs of Christianity accessible to ordinary readers. Alister McGrath, Lewis’s biographer, makes the point that Lewis. in his celebrated book Surprised By Joy (1955), picked up on a Wordsworh poem of 1812, when he was grieving over the death of his three year old daughter. After some time Wordsworth came to see a “visionary gleam of joy” and hope. Seizing on this, Lewis “offers his reflections on  the source of a deeper vision of Joy, rooted at one level in the yearnings of the human heart, and at another in the nature of God. It is God who shoots such ‘arrows of Joy’ as a means of heightening his sense of longing, stimulating his reflection, initiating his questing, and ultimately achieving his transformation… Memory, joy, and longing then become gateways to God” (McGrath, The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis, 2014, pp.8-9).

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