I never think of him as Clive. I do not think most people now-a-days do. Clive Staples Lewis, whose "day" it is today in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006, is known by the world as C. S. Lewis. This great author and brilliant mind moved from being Anglican to atheist in his teens, to a long sojourn back to the church and Christ that ended just before he turned 30. And a career that would change lives, a career that would burn images and Christian stories into hearts, began.
Most people I know have moved through a desert time, away from faith, away from the mystery, at some point in their lives. Some make it back, many do not. Some of the folks who don't make it back are like the Pharisee in our Gospel account today: certain of themselves and in themselves. Many who do make it back are like the tax collector in today's Gospel: knowing their imperfections and turning toward God's love, who welcomes us anyway. When Clive was older and writing about his movement from atheism to Christ, he wrote I know very well when, but hardly how, the final step was taken..... That is true for so many people I talk with: they know they have changed, they know they are changed, they know they are now Christ's own forever, but they don't understand how it happened. There is a humbleness of self and spirit in that admission: a wonderful one. God is in that moment, and every moment. Searching for the how is not the important part of that statement...accepting the turning is.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved