One vast need

“Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God. But man’s love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-love. This is obvious when we implore forgiveness for our sins or support in our tribulations. But in the long run it is perhaps more apparent in our growing — for it ought to be growing — awareness that our whole being by its very nature is one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying our for Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose. I do not say that man can never bring to God anything at all but sheer Need-love. Exalted souls may tells us of a reach beyond that. But they would also, I think, be the first to tell us that these heights would cease to be true Graces, would become Neo-Platonic or finally diabolical illusions, the moment a man dared to think that he could live on them and henceforth drop out the element of need. “The highest,” says the Imitation, “does not stand without the lowest.” It would be a bold and silly creature that came before its Creator with the boast, “I’m no beggar. I love you disinterestedly.” Those who come nearest to a Gift-love for God will next moment, even at the very same moment, be beating their breasts with the publican and laying their indigence before the only real Giver. And God will have it so. He address our Need-love: “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy-laden,” or, in the Old Testament, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” “

- Introduction to The Four Loves, CS Lewis, 1960