Wednesday, July 22, 2015


The fact that we have bodies is the oldest and most universal joke of all.”

No matter how I try to plug this in to a search engine it will not bring up the original context.  I have it in a journal that I keep and attributed it to C. S. Lewis.  This quote has always fascinated me maybe even more now because it is completely out of context and makes me wonder.  (Knowing him, it made such great sense in its proper place.)

Still it makes one think.  It can be taken in so many ways.  The ugliest, most deformed body in the world may also be the most beautiful soul in heaven (and visa versa.)  “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows.  Bwahahaha”  I’m sure there will be some surprises at which we have a great guffaw.  

It also is humerious that this body which connects us to other people is also the very reason we need to connect.  We can hear, smell (eesh), see, taste (careful), and feel others.  We have wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to processes what we sense.  But it is all brought into our little space shuttle of sorts to figure out.  Do we ever get passed the “original solitude” about which St. John Paul II wrote about concerning Adam when he was alone in the Garden of Eden?  Even if we think we do, it is not unheard of to go through life thinking it is all figured out and we know those around us and then hearing from someone, “I never loved you,” or the infamous and often equally troublesome phrase, “I have always had a crush on you.”  If a joke is a sudden and unexpected turn of events, there’s one if ever there was one.

There is only One Who is fully with you inside your space shuttle of course.  That would be God.  But I have to believe that when we are resurrected and given new bodies that this glitch will be removed – that the way we are united is in the universal Body of Christ and all of the barriers that keep us apart will be the instruments of our unity.  Could it be this is why Scripture says that there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be made known or brought out into the open (Luke 8:17)?  The walls of the space shuttle will be gone and we will be fully with each other – not fully each other as other religions foresee, but with.

I think of those who think this world is all that there is.  What a lonely thought.  As much fun as this life can be, to think that this is all that there is – is disappointing.  Fountain of youth?  Immortality in this life?  No thank you.  I am enjoying it but I only want to do this once.  I’m counting on heaven and I’m counting on you being there with me.


Stephen said...

Dear Father,

One day I asked Fr. Schleicher that when I recieve my glorified body, will I have a slender glorified body or an overweight glorified body like the one I have now.

Fr. Schleicher said, "For God's sake, just take what you are given."


Chris P. said...

I am almost positive that quote, or at least that quote in spirit, is from an explanation of why Lewis is on board with St. Francis of Assisi's description of his own body as "Brother Ass."

Anonymous said...

'humerious' I had to look that word up. I never heard of it before now. After looking it up in Webster's dictionary, I still don't know what it means.


Tom Reiderman said...

some beautiful comments Father - thank you. This gives me some real peace of mind

MaryofSharon said...

Fr. V., the quote (minus the "and most universal") is from The Four Loves, in the chapter entitled "Eros":

Here's the context:

But thirdly we have the view which St. Francis expressed by calling his body “Brother Ass" .... Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful. So the body. There’s no living with it till we recognise that one of its functions in our lives is to play the part of buffoon. Until some theory has sophisticated them, every man, woman and child in the world knows this. The fact that we have bodies is the oldest joke there is. Eros (like death, figure-drawing, and the study of medicine) may at moments cause us to take it with total seriousness. The error consists in concluding that Eros should always do so and permanently abolish the joke. But this is not what happens. The very faces of all the happy lovers we know make it clear. Lovers, unless their love is very short-lived, again and again feel an element not only of comedy, not only of play, but even of buffoonery, in the body’s expression of Eros. And the body would frustrate us if this were not so. It would be too clumsy an instrument to render love’s music unless its very clumsiness could be felt as adding to the total experience its own grotesque charm-a sub-plot or antimasque miming with its own hearty rough-and-tumble what the soul enacts in statelier fashion. (Thus in old comedies the lyric loves of the hero and heroine are at once parodied and corroborated by some much more earthy affair between a Touchstone and an Audrey or a valet and a chambermaid.) The highest does not stand without the lowest. There is indeed at certain moments a high poetry in the flesh itself; but also, by your leave, an irreducible element of obstinate and ludicrous un­poetry. If it does not make itself felt on one occasion, it will on another. Far better plant it foursquare within the drama of Eros as comic relief than pretend you haven’t noticed it.

You can read the whole chapter online.