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A Great Joy Befallen

August 12, 2010

Dane Ortlund, on the Gospel Coalition blog, relates some quotes from C. S. Lewis about a life-altering experience of joy. These quotes come from a December 1951 letter, written to priest and friend St. Giovanni Calabria:

[D]uring the past year a great joy has befallen me. Difficult though it is, I shall try to explain this in words. It is astonishing that sometimes we believe that we believe what, really, in our heart, we do not believe.

For a long time I believed that I believed in the forgiveness of sins. But suddenly (on St. Mark’s Day [April 25]) this truth appeared in my mind in so clear a light that I perceived that never before (and that after many confessions and absolutions) had I believed it with my whole heart.

So great is the difference between mere affirmation by the intellect and that faith, fixed in the very marrow and as it were palpable, which the Apostle wrote was substance. . . .

It is bidden us to ‘rejoice and always rejoice’. Jesus has cancelled the handwriting that was against us. Lift up our hearts! (p. 151–52)

Ortlund comments: What is remarkable is that this was not a passing surge of affections that evaporated as quickly as it had come. Several times throughout his correspondence for the rest of his life, Lewis referred to this 1951 experience as a renewal of lasting, life-altering significance.

To read the entire article, click here.

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