Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Without holiness...

John Henry Newman supposes that "Heaven is heaven only for the holy," reminding me of C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce:
.... If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into Heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there; but when he arrived there, he would find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked or despised, nothing which bound him to aught else in the universe, and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon.

He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cutaway by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart. Nay, he would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him. Ah! he could not bear the face of the Living God; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You?" is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge his majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.
[John Henry Cardinal Newman. "Heaven is heaven only for the holy." excerpt from Parochial and Plain Sermons, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997]
Heaven is heaven only for the holy
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