This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:
Scripture: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matt: 5, 6)
"The famous sculptor, Torvaldsen, worked for a long time, with increasing enthusiasm, on a statue of Christ, but apparently when he finished it, he became very sad. When he was questioned about this sadness, he replied: “For the first time in my life I am satisfied with my work; until now my dreams far exceeded what I could fulfill. Now, however, when it seems to me that I have reached the highest ideal, I have nothing more to look forward to, nothing to strive for”. Having been satisfied with his work, having achieved his goal, he immediately seemed to become weaker and lose energy and joy in further creativity.
"Without agreeing with the great artist’s thought about achieving the ideal which the image of the Savior represents, no matter the greatness of an artistic creation, we must agree with the depth and truth of his thought. If our feelings, needs and aspirations could in any way be forever satisfied here on earth, we would become somnambulant, and the spiritual growth of our soul would cease.
"This law applies to every life. Hunger is a sign of health in a living organism, and the thirst for knowledge is a sign of the development of mental capabilities. If this thirst did not exist, there would be stagnation. In the spiritual life hunger and thirst and a lack of satisfaction with oneself prove the existence of a striving for the highest ideals. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst”, – blessed are the unsatisfied, blessed are they who are always hungry, who wish for greater and greater love, who are ever striving to achieve something higher. This great spiritual thirst, this irrepressible, burning desire and striving for a closer, more intimate, full and perfect communion with God, is a sign of a healthy spiritual life, a sign of an awakened and reborn soul. In this insatiable striving for what is better, in this longing for home, so to speak, for a new life and total perfection, one finds the ideal of the Christian spirit.
"So full of abundance is the wellspring of God, that the human soul cannot immediately contain it, and reaches for Him again and again with a constantly renewed thirst. It satisfies and delights the soul and thus creates within it a greater and greater desire to be filled with it.
"In filling the soul, it expands and inundates it, so that it overflows and spreads to others.
I think that a hunger and thirst for righteousness is, ultimately, a hunger and thirst for God, and I think that all of Lewis’s works could be described that way.
One small example is Lewis’s answer to a question posed by a member of an audience – “How can I find God?”. Lewis says:
“People will find God if they consciously seek from Him the right attitude towards all unpleasant things” (God in the Dock, Part 1, 4)
But this isn’t always easy, as Lewis himself found out immediately after Joy’s death.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)