It troubles me to let this old thread stand with so little expression of regard and praise for this wonderful book and its author, one of the greatest 20th century evangelists.
OK, Lewis is not a Catholic convert, and this is “only” his description of his loss and then regaining of his Anglican faith. But it is a powerful testament to the many Catholic friends and authors who encouraged and guided him in his recovery, and as well a celebration of the Joy to which Jesus alluded in his words “These things I have spoken to you, that my Joy may remain in you, and that your Joy may be full.” Jn 15:11
At page 16 Lewis begins a description of three powerful childhood episodes, and then states at page 17 “The reader who finds these three episodes of no interest need read this book no fruther, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else…the quality common to the three experiences is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy which…must be sharply distinquished both from happiness and pleasure.” Lewis is speaking of Divine Joy, and
virtually throughout the 238 pages he refers to episode after episode when he and others sense Jesus’ call to the Divine Joy of Love, Hope, Faith, Peace, Beauty, and Truth.
In his earlier book, the allegory The Pilgrim’s Regress, Lewis said he was describing not a directly autobiographical process, but rather a description of the natural road to Christianity, feeling, hearing, and eventually following God’s call to the Righteousness, Peace, and Joy of His Eternal Kingdom. These are both wonderful books, admittedly written from a British perspective of the past century. I strongly recommend both, and caution readers against, as Lewis warns on p207 of Surprised, “chronological snobbery.”