And here is the paradox at the heart of the Christian life: The one who embraces suffering, who dies to himself in order to die for others, is actually happier than the one who shuns suffering and who puts himself above all else.
When Belloc said that the Protestant Reformation was the shipwreck of Christendom, he was simply stating a historical fact, but it was controversial because history is political.
I was still very much embroiled in the racist politics of the National Front, living a double-life in which I wrote hate-filled propaganda during the day and read the love-filled pages of Chesterton and Lewis at night. I was not aware of any contradiction, at least at first, and sought to bring the two warring viewpoints together by a process of Orwellian doublethink, which is defined in Nineteen Eighty-four as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.
In the absence of virtue and wisdom, intelligence becomes a servant of evil.
As the Greek and the Christian philosophers could have told me, love and reason are inseparable because goodness and truth are inseparable.
The two great commandments of Christ are that we love the Lord our God and that we love our neighbor. They are commandments that must be obeyed even if-especially if-the love is not accompanied by any positive feelings.
In short, and to put the matter bluntly, without the healing power of grace we are not be able to reason our way to God because we will lack the desire to engage with the reality beyond ourselves. In refusing this grace, we excommunicate ourselves from the world of objective reality, exorcising the power of reason instead of exercising it. In so doing, we condemn ourselves to life imprisonment, turning our very lives into a living death sentence. Since
every life should be a quest to achieve the goal of heaven through a growth in virtue, thereby attaining the power, through grace, to overcome the monsters and demons which seek to prevent the achievement of this paramount goal. It is in this way and with this understanding of the meaning and purpose of life that we are meant to read The Hobbit and it is in this way, and this way alone, that we find its deepest and most applicable meaning.
In reading Chesterton I was undermining my own most dearly held prejudices.
To live a creative life we must loose our fear of being wrong.