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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Sunday Meditation: Mr. Tumnus (and C.S. Lewis) Explain it All for You!

I love this sculpture, a gift from our daughter. It's on the buffet in our dining room and I see it at every meal. 

Whenever it catches my eye, I think of Mr. Tumnus and his lampost from C.S. Lewis's Narnia stories beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Sometimes I imagine myself sitting there on the bench waiting for Mr. Tumnus. He will join me with his umbrella and armful of packages. We'll walk in the snow to his comfy little house and sit down next to the warm fire with tea and toast. Together we'll commiserate on the state of the world where it is always winter and never Christmas Easter. 

The white witch in her many personas (Ralph Northam, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, Gretchen Whitmer, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, etc.) reigns at present and some, like the unfortunate Edmund from the story, will betray their brothers and sisters and aid the witch in her evil. Even the good, kind Mr. Tumnus is tempted to sell out our heroine, Lucy, and surrender her to the white witch. But he doesn't! And he pays a heavy price for his commitment to good, being turned into stone at the witch's castle! 

Nevertheless Mr. Tumnus's faithfulness is a victory over evil! 

And then comes the final victory, resurrection, when Aslan returns and breathes life into all the faithful dwarves, talking animals, and fauns who stand like funeral monuments in the witch's courtyard. They come to life again to join the battle.

And that's what I choose to remember today. The battle against evil! Victory! Resurrection!

Evil never wins. It may seem to for a time, but in the end Father Christmas returns, the Spring melts the winter snow, and Aslan reappears to offer himself on the stone table for the salvation of the residents of Narnia and the whole world. 

Of course, the battle goes on until the end of time which we await in hope. But no matter the outcome of individual conflicts, the victory is assured to us if we gather under the standard of Christ. 

In Lewis's final story of the series, The Last Battle, things deteriorate resulting in the worst possible persecution of the Narnians. We too see a growing world moral collapse with persecution in many places, particularly under Communist nations like China and North Korea and Islamic nations like Iraq and the Sudan. The Narnians suffered under the evil ape, Shift, and the manipulated donkey, Puzzle, masquerading in a lion's skin. The ape uses his poor dupe to imitate Aslan, bringing him out only in the dim firelight to give credence to his tyrannical demands. How many apes in our own day manipulate their useful idiots to advance their evil, godless agendas?

Puzzle and Shift from The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Good defeats evil in the end, of course, but not without much pain and sacrifice. The Narnia stories offer a great entryway into deep discussions with children about the nature of good and evil. Much more accessible than The Lord of the Rings, which targets an older audience, Narnia invites serious reflection for both young and old about the important issues of life. I never tire of re-reading the series and listening to it on CD when we travel.

Jesus was a storyteller. He knew the power of the imagination to move his listeners from the head to the heart. We need both to be true Christians! Great Catholic and Christian fiction can provide tremendous insights, often more readily than non-fiction. 

So join me by Mr. Tumnus's lamppost and by his warm fireside and let us share the stories of life that reveal our humanness and our love for the Lord. 

May Jesus Christ be praised.

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