C.S. Lewis, Lent & Love
Lent is the season of repentance and self-denial. But to what end? Is it to nurture greater self-discipline or virtue? Is it to identify with Jesus? Is it to train us in the way of discipleship? What do you think?
Along these lines, I found the following quotation by C.S. Lewis helpful:
If you asked twenty good [persons] today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old [they] would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has a lot to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself.
C.S. Lewis – The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, 2001 Harper Collins San Francisco p. 25