Note: I read this letter and played these clips for my Confirmation students tonight. It’s a good reminder of how big our lives actually are, so I’m sharing it with you, too.
The Narnia series of books was written by C.S. Lewis in the 1950s as an allegory, or metaphor, of the Christian story, and it was written for children but as the author said, one day we become old enough and wise enough to read fairy tales again. I first read them when I was nineteen, and I re-read them all the time because they help me to feel and know the truth of this Christian life I’m trying to lead and how much bigger it is than it sometimes seems. In the stories, the Lion, Aslan, represents Jesus and the children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, represent us. Hopefully many of you have read the books or seen the movies, and you may know some of the basic plot. The children are transported to Narnia, a world where talking animals and people coexist. There’s a villain, the White Witch, who keeps Narnia always in the harshness of Winter, but never Christmas. When the children come to Narnia from Earth through a wardrobe, they are the answer to a long awaited prophecy that foretold them. Quickly, they hear about how Aslan the Lion is prophesied to come and save them all in a battle against the Witch, and they are given gifts by Father Christmas to help in the fight. Peter is given a sword and shield, Susan a bow and arrows and a horn that can always call for help, and Lucy a dagger and a potion that will heal injuries.
This story is a representation of your journey as a Christian. Whether you know it or not, there is a battle going on every day and it’s within us, you and me, in our minds and spirits, and certainly in our world. Good versus evil, light versus darkness…you only have to look around your family, school, town, country, and world to know the struggle is real. The Narnians believed Aslan would come but they’d never yet seen him with their eyes….in the same way, we are to believe in Jesus based on what we’ve heard in CCD, church and in our families since we were children but never seen. It’s a hard thing to keep faith in something you can’t touch or see, and that is part of the challenge that meets us as Christians. In the story, the gifts the children receive…sword, shield, horn, and potion are representations of the gifts that you will receive in your journey with God, some of which you will receive in a supernatural way at your Confirmation. When you become a Confirmed Catholic, you are aligning yourself with light and you in some way have agreed to take a side in a battle which is going on inside yourself and certainly in this broken world.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took our punishment for all of our sins, and this is a hard thing to understand and to truly know. In the story, Aslan took on a death sentence for Edmund, who in the story was tempted by the White Witch and served her cause. Aslan had done nothing wrong, but he took Edmund’s place in receiving his rightful punishment. Jesus did the same for us.
When Jesus rose, it was a surprise to those who followed him, just as when Aslan returned from the dead in the clip we’ll watch next. Jesus’ followers were devastated, isolated, and alone, just as you’ll see Susan and Lucy here. That Resurrection changed everything. It made it possible for them, and for us to live with hope, to carry on, and to know all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26)
After the Resurrection, the battle is on. The same is true for us. In this scene, Peter, as the leader of Aslan’s army, knows he is outnumbered. As Christians, so are we. People who will actually act for God on Earth are few and far between, as you may have already observed. It’s not enough to call yourself a Catholic or Christian, but it is engaging in the battle that matters. We can do that by continuing to deepen our faith in prayer and study, by helping and serving others, and by growing our relationship with Jesus. If you ever need help finding ways to do that, I hope you will reach out to me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Take a look here at how Peter and Edmund are strengthened by the knowledge of Aslan’s sacrifice and how it makes them better, braver, and stronger than they were before. They were kids who became warriors. So are you. And they had help, of course, and so will you. You will see in this clip that Aslan sends help “from the skies”, and in a weird way, you will receive help step by step as you go from the Holy Spirit and from people He sends to you. You will never fight alone.
In this clip, you will see that at times it looks like evil, or the White Witch, is certainly winning and that all seems hopeless. You may find the same experience or feeling as you walk your Christian life. I know I have, many times. But just like the children of Narnia, we can’t always see how we can be helped, or what supernatural things might happen to change everything. I ask you to never give up hope. Our failings or low times can help us learn and give us courage we did not know existed. In the end, Jesus will always come to help you. And in a bigger sense, we are fortunate to know the end of the story regarding our world…we are promised in Scripture that Jesus will destroy all evil in the end. (Revelations)
For those who haven’t read the book or seen the movie, Lucy’s potion heals Edmund’s injuries and the four children take their places as Kings and Queens of Narnia. We are told in Scripture that when our battle is done, we too will receive crowns and rewards that represent what we have done on Earth and how we persevered. You may believe yourself to be ordinary teenagers, but your potential is unlimited and God has a distinct and amazing plan for your lives. God has a word for each of you. In the story, Lucy is Valiant, Edmund is Just, Susan is Gentle, and Peter is Magnificent. With what word will God describe your amazing life when it comes to an end? Make it your life’s work to make it a good one, and know you will never, ever walk alone.
Thank you for sharing your time and attention with me this year. I will be praying for you!