John Clark is an author and speechwriter. His first book Who’s Got You? reached #1 in the Amazon Kindle “Fatherhood” category and his new book How to Be a Superman Dad in a Kryptonite World, Even When You Can’t Afford A Decent Cape was just released by Guiding Light Books. He has written hundreds of articles and blogs about Catholic family life and apologetics in such places as Seton Magazine, Catholic Digest, and Homiletic and Pastoral Review. A graduate of Christendom College, John and his wife Lisa have nine children and live in Virginia.
Years ago, I read this passage written by the immortal C. S. Lewis that has slowly changed the way I look at the world and the people around me:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…
We are all immortals.
What about the man who stocks the shelves at the local grocery store? He is an immortal.
What about the woman who makes your vanilla latte every morning? She is an immortal.
What about your children, your wife, your son’s baseball coach, your parish priest, the woman you argued with yesterday whose name you can’t remember, the man you have a hard time forgiving, the woman at the toll booth on your way to work? They are immortals.
We are all immortals.
C. S. Lewis was not suggesting that harm would never befall us or that we would never die an earthly death; rather, he was reminding us that our souls will live on forever with either eternal joy or damnation. We were made for eternal union with our loving Creator, and this fact should transform our lives.
To a Christian, the claim to immortality shouldn’t be shocking. What is shocking, however, is how much you and I tend to ignore that truth on a daily basis. We are often just too busy or too self-centered to let this truth strongly affect us. We should be excited beyond words to greet an immortal; yet, far too often, we just pass them by.
Of course, by reminding us of our immortality, C. S. Lewis only scratched the surface of the value of a human person. It is not only that we are meant to live forever, but that God has loved each of us forever. God has no beginning and no end, and so it is with His love for us. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a moment that God does not infinitely love you and me. Moreover, as Saint Augustine is attributed with observing, “God loves each of us as though there were only one of us.”
And there is something else to consider: The soul in the state of grace—the soul of a person made in God’s image—is a home of the Most Holy Trinity. As Saint Teresa of Avila writes in The Interior Castle:
Here all three Persons communicate Themselves to the soul and speak to the soul and explain to it those words which the Gospel attributes to the Lord—namely, that He and the Father and the Holy Spirit will come to dwell with the soul which loves Him and keeps His commandments.”
An indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity is a privilege of unconceivable magnitude, yet it is not a unique privilege granted only to the great saints like the Blessed Virgin, Joseph, Thomas Aquinas and Teresa of Avila. The Trinity indwells in each and every soul in the state of grace!
You and I will meet men and women and children today who are immortal, who are infinitely and perpetually loved by God, in whom the Trinity dwells. Of that, we can be sure, but knowing this accomplishes very little if our daily lives fail to reflect this truth—if in our actions we ignore it. We read in Psalms: “I praise you, for I am wondrously made.” And the truth is that everyone is wondrously made. The question we must ask ourselves, once we have realized this fact and contemplated it, is what it must mean to how we conduct ourselves in the world. That is the magnificent challenge proposed to each one of us.