animal or angel

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one,
not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries;
avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
To love is to be vulnerable.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves


(Marc Chagall / Cow with a Parasol / 1944)

In his Second Sunday before Lent homily, Bishop Ashenden puts before us the notion
of the identity of Jesus.

Who Jesus really is.

He notes that no one—not Buddha, not Mohammad, not Abraham, nor Moses…
none of these individuals ever professed to be God…

But that Jesus was different.

He did claim to be the Son of God…and in turn God.
That He was in the Father and the Father was in Him.
(John 14:11)

Yet Bishop Ashenden notes that our culture does not teach that Jesus is or was any
different from anyone else.
And also notes that none of us can actually prove what Jesus did.
We only have the written word…no tangible proof that shows the world definitive proof
of this or that.

And so we are left asking ourselves…
why were these things done the way that they were done and
why had these things been done and said even in the first place?

The good Bishop notes the words of C.S. Lewis when Lewis referenced man and choice…
that the choice of man is to be either animal or angel—or more aptly, animal or saint.

For in animals we are all similar in that we are born of both male and female.
And from that… man is then born of consciousness/ brain/mind…
with his conscious being the separator between man and animal…
as some may even dispute that…

So thus, by the conscious being of his conscience, man (us) has the capacity to
become children of God.
The choice between dust or to live eternally.

And so comes Jesus to show how humanly conscious choice is put into practice.

For the Children of God are born not only from man and woman but also from
the Holy Spirit.

And yet even worse than the animals…man, with his consciousness, can, therefore,
choose to become demonic…
because man can consciously choose malice, anger, rage, hatred, damage…all things which
are demonic versus that of The Spirit.

And so Jesus, as God made man…demonstrated that Love was never designed to be kept
to self…but to be freely offered and given…that which counters the demonic…

“Humans are amphibians…half spirit and half animal…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.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The Scandal

DSCN4407
(Winter Rouge Wallflowers / Julie Cook / 2014)

The Scandal of Pious People
The lowly God-man is the scandal of pious people and of people in general.
This scandal is his historical ambiguity.
The most incomprehensible thing for the pious is this man’s claim that he is not
only a pious human being but also the Son of God.
Whence his authority: “But I say to you” (Matt. 5:22) and “Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2).
If Jesus’ nature had been deified, this claim would have been accepted.
If he had given signs, as was demanded of him, they would have believed him.
But at the point where it really mattered, he held back.
And that created the scandal.
Yet everything depends on this fact.
If he had answered the Christ question addressed to him through a miracle, then the statement would no longer be true that he became a human being like us, for then there would have been an exception at the decisive point. . . .
If Christ had documented himself with miracles, we would naturally believe, but then Christ would not be our salvation, for then there would not be faith in God who became human, but only the recognition of an alleged supernatural fact.
But that is not faith. . . .
Only when I forgo visible proof, do I believe in God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I Want to Live These Days With You
A year of Daily Devotions
Entry taken from March 19th
(emphasis mine)