Friday, January 14, 2011

Our Souls Demand It

C.S. Lewis suggests that our needs and longings are evidence of something that can fulfill them.
A man’s physical hunger does not prove that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man’s hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will. A man may love a woman and not win her; but it would be very odd if the phenomenon called “falling in love” occurred in a sexless world.
For example, the fact that we feel hunger is evidence that we need to eat and that need is evidence that food must exist (even if we had never seen food...the need implies it must exist somewhere). In a similar way, our restlessness and emptiness on this earth is evidence that this is not our home and that there must be something, or someone, else who will fulfill us. (Certainly there are enough examples throughout history of people who "had it all" but whose lives ultimately ended in tragedy because true and lasting fulfillment does not come from this world.) Also similarly, a longing or desire stirring inside of you to serve others...and to serve evidence of a calling God has for your life.

Anyway, it occurred to me while taking a walk this morning that the reverse of Lewis' argument must also be least in some instances. You see as I walked and drank in the simple beauty of the sunrise and felt the sharp but invigorating chill of the morning air on my face, I recognized how worthy God is of our constant praise. His majesty and omnipotence, His mercy and grace, are evidence that He is worthy of all praise...of our praise...and so we must praise Him every moment of every day. The only problem with that logic is that it doesn't work practically.

God created us...and He created us a world where we must work for our survival. He created us with needs and longings and provided the means to fulfill them...but we have to work for them (we have to cultivate the land for it to produce food, we have to build in order to have shelter, etc.). And so while God may be worthy of our constant praise, it would seem He left us very little time to do it.

But that's when I started to recognize that somehow both must be true...and that's when it hit me...our lives must be lived in praise of our Father. It's true that we can't fall prostrate before an alter 24/7...that we can't participate in Mass every hour of every day. But that does not eliminate the need...and certainly doesn't diminish God's worthiness. So somehow...someway...our daily lives...filled with all the humdrum and mundane activities...must somehow sing praise to God.

So the question do we do that? How do we live and do all the things we have to do each day...and yet do them in a way that praises God? I imagine we all have to find that answer for ourselves. There is no magic formula. No one size fits all. No...the answer is likely as unique as each of our lives is unique. But it's an answer we must find. God demands it...and if we listen closely...our very souls demand it.

If you ask why we should obey God, in the last resort the answer is, 'I am.' To know God is to know that our obedience is due to Him. ~ C.S. Lewis

No comments: