Tag Archives: CS Lewis

Ep71 Pride Poisons Everything



Father Len explains how pride can poison everything in life from relationships, to religion, to marriages, to organizations and companies.

Highlights, Ideas, & Wisdom

  • Pride and its effects are often so subtle as to be unrecognizable.
  • The easiest way to manipulate people is to use their pride against them.
  • Father Len shares the story of how an FBI agent uses the pride of criminals to induce them to confess their crimes.
  • “The Truth Detector: an Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide for Getting People to Reveal the Truth” by Jack Schafer
  • Prideful people are always defensive because their professed self-worth and inner strength is a façade.
  • Father Len reveals how pride causes him to “freak out and become defensive and disrespectful” when people don’t respect his time.
  • Pride is seductive and addicting.
  • Pride is like an animal that must be fed over and over.
  • Pride is like a freeway off ramp that takes you off the path to God.
  • Father Len tells the sad story of how pride caused Alexander the Great to kill his best friend.
  • Father Len explains how Satan uses our pride to tempt us to sin.
  • “Little Shop of Horrors” Movie
  • Prideful people have a constant need for outward signs to demonstrate that they’re okay which ironically leads them to feeling less and less okay inside.
  • The prideful are always armored up and defensive.
  • “The ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon self is the mark of Hell.” – CS Lewis
  • Prideful people have difficulty laughing at themselves because of their constant need for input on how great they are.
  • Great leaders share two qualities: selflessness and humility.
  • Leaders with excessive pride bring nothing but destruction to their companies and organizations.
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins
  • Father Len’s litmus test for a spiritual person: one who believes that pride poisons everything.
  • Irish shares the story of how he’s been unwittingly sucked into a corrosive game of pride by a prideful friend.
  • Humility and vulnerability are the antidotes to pride.

Ep59 Understanding the Language of God



Responding to a listener’s question about whether God’s teachings are black and white, Father Len explains why it’s difficult for us to fully understand the language of God’s love.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • God’s morality and teachings are black and white and pure because God is love, without ego and without corruption.
  • Our interpretation of God’s morality and teachings is often wrong because it is viewed through the prisms of our egos and agendas.
  • Father Len illustrates the dangers of interpreting God’s word through ego by pointing out how wrong the Jews were in their interpretations of the Bible’s prophecies about Christ’s purpose on earth.
  • Jesus interprets morality and laws from the perspective of love.
  • Father Len points out that Jesus welcomed prostitutes and adulterers in his life knowing that prostitution and adultery are wrong because that’s what love does.
  • Love perfects us.
  • The Bible tells us that anyone who does not love and proclaims that they know God is a liar.
  • Our black and white view of morality often errs on the side of being harsh and judgmental, void of love.
  • Black and white morality can be very seductive because we can proclaim it to be justice, but without compassion it can be very wrong.
  • There are two kinds of moral extremes: black and white and relativism. Both are based a lot on ego.
  • Moral relativism is morality based solely on personal feelings and choice usually driven by ego or agenda.
  • Reacting to immoral behavior with love forces us to have empathy and compassion.
  • Father Len uses the Bible’s various perspectives on slavery to illustrate how God is constantly trying to help us evolve in our morality understanding we can’t always accept the whole truth all at once.
  • Fully understanding God’s language of love and morality is a lifelong process.

Ep56 Bible Symbols Revealed and Explained-Part 2 Trees



Father Len reveals that trees are symbols for God and human beings and trees represent the most important choices we make in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Trees are the third most common thing mentioned in the Bible.
  • God loves trees and gives them a ring every year on their birthdays.
  • Trees are places where human beings choose to worship or reject God.
  • There is a tree present at every major event in the Bible.
  • Every major character in the Bible is associated with a type of tree.
  • The only thing Jesus ever harmed was a tree that produced no fruit.
  • The Bible begins and ends with the “tree of life” and trees are present throughout the Bible.
  • The story of human history is choosing between two trees: the tree of life and the tree of good and selfishness.
  • There are two types of food. One gives us physical life. The other gives us spiritual life.
  • If we eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness we are cut off from the covenant with God and disconnected from the source of life.
  • The temptation to eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness is the promise of the power to define what is good and evil for ourselves rather than God.
  • We don’t have to earn the fruit from the tree of life. God gives it freely to us.
  • When anybody makes a commitment to God in the Bible there’s always a tree, an altar, and water present.
  • The tree of good and selfishness often appears in the form of an Idol in the Bible. The Idol is a false tree we create to define our own version of morality.
  • The Hebrews called idols “luxuriant trees” representing the pursuit of power, sex, and money for happiness. The Hebrew letters for “luxuriant tree” cleverly spell Garden of Eden backwards.
  • Addictions always promise happiness, but in the end leave us destroyed.
  • Trees in the Bible symbolize commitments and altars represent the rituals around the commitments.
  • The spiritual life in the Bible is pictured as a tree that must push its roots down deep to find the water of life necessary to produce good fruit in all seasons of life.
  • Jesus’ cross is called a tree in the Bible representing the tree of life. That’s why there is one cross next to or above the altar in every Catholic Church. It’s a reminder of the tree we should be eating from each day for eternal life.

Ep42 Only One Thing Will Unite Us



Father Len presents the solution to contention and division in our individual lives and in the world around us.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “Secretaries rule the world. Never tick off a secretary because they control everything.” – Father Len
  • Unity comes through Christ.
  • The word Catholic means universal.
  • Father Len shares the hope for unity found in the two creation stories in the Bible.
  • We are meant to live in unity with other people, even when there is great diversity.
  • The word devil means divider. The devil is constantly tempting us to be divided against each other and God.
  • Humanity is forever attempting to come up with a source of unity outside of Christ.
  • We end up more divided when we develop external things to bring us together.
  • Ego will always tear us apart.
  • The Bible chronicles humanity’s quest for unity.
  • Father Len shares the Bible story of the Good Samaritan to reveal God’s most important laws.
  • We cannot possibly love God without loving one another.
  • The Catholic Church is the most ethnically diverse movement in human history.
  • Father Len tells the story of what CS Lewis learned about the effect other people and community have on our personalities.
  • Father Len explains why private personal relationships with God are not Christian and not spiritual.
  • God is perfect loving community.
  • The one thing God desires in the Bible is family; that all of us will look at each other as brothers and sisters.
  • Unity is not brought about by conformity.
  • Our relationship with other human beings should be founded on God.
  • The only path to unity is the self-sacrificing love Christ came into the world to model for us.

Ep37 Fear of God



Father Len reveals what fear of God really means and why it’s awesome.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len uses a story about Avalon the lion from the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia collection of books to begin to illustrate what fear of God is and isn’t.
  • Fear of the Lord is one of the top seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Father Len explains the difference between terror and Fear of the Lord.
  • Fear of the Lord is actually about awe and respect.
  • Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  • Father Len shares a fun personal story about swimming with Dolphins to illustrate what awe feels like.
  • “Be not afraid” is a common greeting from Jesus because he does not take pleasure in people fearing him.
  • God is definitely not a tyrant.
  • Father Len exposes what narcissists fear to explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.
  • Father Len reveals how awe and intrigue helped famous scientists and philosophers like Albert Einstein and Socrates discover the existence of God.
  • The book of Deuteronomy connects the Fear of God to the observance of morality.
  • The real experience of God is unnameable because there is no thing in creation that is like God.
  • Mystic Meister Eckhart would often pray, “God cleanse me of God,” which meant cleanse me of false notions of God.

Ep25 Tour of Hell



Father Len takes us on a tour of hell exploring its origin and history providing glimpses of heaven along the way.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Hell can be hot and cold.
  • Hell is complete separation from God.
  • Heaven is complete union with God.
  • God is the source of life, love, community, justice, and compassion.
  • Hell is being separated from life, love, and community.
  • God offers life and love to all people as a free gift, but that doesn’t mean all people accept the gift.
  • Hell is often associated with fire, but in the Bible it is also depicted as a cold and lonely place.
  • The image of fire is also connected to heaven in the Bible.
  • Could it be that the fire of heaven and hell is the same, the fire of God’s love?
  • Life is a matter of preparing to live in the fire of God’s love or forever rejecting it.
  • If you live your life with hatred and selfishness, maybe pure love is something that you can’t stand.
  • People can create their own hell right here on earth. It’s not just an imaginary place where we might end up.
  • You separate yourself from God when you fail to live a life of love.
  • God wants everybody united in heaven, but that doesn’t mean everybody will be in heaven.
  • “The gates of hell are locked from the inside” – CS Lewis
  • Hell is something we create by our own choices, not something created by God.
  • God permits those who reject community, justice, compassion, and love, which is God, to live in the hell they create.
  • The images of heaven and hell help point our lives in the right direction.
  • Hell is a choice of selfishness and cruelty over love.
  • The gates of heaven are always open for those who love.

Ep24 Hell is a choice



Father Len explains why God doesn’t send anybody to hell.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len answers the question why a loving God creates human beings he knows will go to hell.
  • Free will is one of God’s greatest gifts to each of us.
  • Free will defines human beings.
  • We are free to choose heaven or hell.
  • Heaven’s gate is always open for us to walk in.
  • “The Great Divorce” by CS Lewis tells the story of people in hell who have the opportunity to look into heaven and choose not to walk in.
  • Father Len shares the Bible story of the rich man and Lazarus to illustrate how and why some people surprisingly choose hell over the love, unity, and community that is heaven.
  • Heaven is a place where everybody loves everybody else. Even Minnesota Vikings fans love Green Bay Packers fans.
  • God’s not going to force anybody into heaven. He’ll beg, he’ll plead, but if you want hell, you can choose it. God will respect your choice.
  • Father Len explains the big difference between God knowing someone will go to hell and causing someone to go to hell.

Ep16 What is forgiveness and why do it?



Father Len explains what forgiveness is and isn’t and the powerful positive effects it has on us and those around us.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • We live in an age of anger. It defines our politics, the way we drive, our Facebook posts, and even our religion.
  • A lot of religious people baptize anger and make excuses for it by calling it righteous.
  • Nowhere in the Bible does it mention God’s having righteous anger. There is no righteous anger. Anger is anger.
  • There is a joke about Irish Alzheimer’s. It’s when you forget everything, but those you’re mad at.
  • People often confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Forgiveness doesn’t require reconciliation.
  • Everything is forgivable, but not all things can be reconciled.
  • Forgiveness means you’re not going to be trapped in a prison of anger, bitterness, and resentment. It’s a source of freedom.
  • Attempts to reconcile with the sociopath can be problematic. An invitation to get hurt again and again.
  • Forgiveness that skips over justice and doesn’t hold the offender accountable is fake forgiveness. Its amnesty and submission to the wrong. It turns forgiveness into the way of the weak and not the strong.
  • Why should we forgive? First and foremost because God said so.
  • Father Len describes how forgiveness gave Nelson Mandela freedom.
  • Father Len tells the amazing story of a young actress whose career was ruined by Alfred Hitchcock, but she was able to forgive him and later attend his funeral free of anger, bitterness, and resentment.
  • Bitterness has a long-term effect on the brain. It makes you dumber.
  • Anger contributes to bad decision-making.
  • Wounded people wound others. If you hold on to anger and a really deep hurt, you’re likely to hurt other people.
  • Forgiveness silences the voice of the offender that keeps telling you you’re a victim and you have no dignity.
  • Forgiveness contributes to better health and a longer life.
  • Dr. Robert Enright’s “International Forgiveness Institute”
  • “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” – CS Lewis
  • The book, “A 1000 Acres” by Jane Smiley is a great story about the power of forgiveness.
  • People who’ve been able to forgive a deep hurt have a much greater capacity to love.

Ep14 Finding Lost Faith



Father Len explains what causes a loss of faith and gives listener Jennifer some ideas for finding her lost faith.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains the difference between faith and belief.
  • Faith is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it will atrophy and you’ll lose it.
  • Faith is like a seed. It’s a gift from God. We must prepare the soil in which it grows. The soil is our hearts. The best means for preparing the soil is prayer and reflection.
  • Faith is like water. It needs a path to flow. Prayer and reflection dig the “trench” that allows faith to flow.
  • Prayer and reflection are habits that give birth to faith.
  • Father Len introduces one of his favorite tools for feeding and deepening his faith, “The Daily Examen” created by St. Ignatius.
  • The daily practice of gratitude will make you a happier person and deepen your faith.
  • “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy” by David D Burns M.D.
  • Life is a matter of negotiating problems.
  • Troubles in life do not cause faith to evaporate. Quite the opposite. We can find the presence of Christ in all of our problems.
  • “God whispers to us in our good times, but shouts to us in our pain.” – CS Lewis

Ep11 Why do we need religion?



Father Len explains how religion helps us recognize who we are meant to be and helps us become our best selves.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Religion is to spirituality what tea is to water. Religion adds flavor and extracts the essence of spirituality.
  • Practicing religion makes people happier, healthier, and live longer. It reduces depression, lowers blood pressure, crime, and the divorce rate.
  • “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” by Robert Putnam
  • Religion brings people together and helps them recognize who they’re meant to be.
  • We all need a community that cares about values and way of life to bring out our full and best selves. Working together with a common purpose, we begin to share each other’s story and become more concerned about other people’s stories than our own.
  • Human beings have always searched for the divine.
  • The common translation of the word shalom is peace, but it really means unity. This unity has four parts. Unity between us and God. Unity between each other. Unity within ourselves. Unity with creation. When you have all four, you have shalom and a great analogy for religion.
  • We all need connection with a goal and purpose in life that is greater than us.
  • Father Len reveals what he believes is missing in our Facebook “connections” and why he believes the “Facebook life” is likely contributing to rampant depression and the rise in suicide, cynicism, and mocking in our society.
  • Research has shown that worship produces a Spike in the love hormone oxytocin that helps bind us together.
  • Worship helps us discover our personal worth, other people’s worth, and the worth of God.
  • Father Len shares a little fun “family trash” to illustrate the relationships, values, and commitments that flow from religion and help us improve ourselves and our lives.
  • Religion is about a sacrifice and an offering of that part of us that thinks only of ourselves in hopes that part of us will eventually die.