Chronicles of Narnia and Allegory  

Posted by Rob Boileau in , , ,

For my home parish's youth group, I volunteered to write up a short essay on C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - more specifically - the allegory of Aslan to Christ found within the movie. I really enjoyed writing this, and also managed to stumble upon the wonderful video I embedded at the top of this post. I did not make the video, I just found it while taking a break from writing the essay and searching through YouTube. The author of the video is Aseldaar... if you liked the video, please leave him a comment and/or a good rating.

Anyway, here's my essay:

My friends, what a treasure we have just seen! C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia is truly a remarkable work, especially for us Christians. Lewis demonstrates in a wonderful way the infinite outpouring of love which God has for us, specifically in the character of Aslan. I invite you to join me now in exploring this beautiful allegory, and I pray that each and every one of you may come to the fullest realization of God’s love for you – and never, ever take it for granted.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:12-17)

Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, willingly laid down His life for the world to save it from sin and death. This sacrifice which the Son offered to His Father in heaven, as we all know, was certainly not in vain. By Christ’s death on the cross, the prince of this world – Satan – was defeated, and Christ made it possible for all of us to be saved by His blood. This was God’s plan for all of us ever since the beginning of time, and was set into motion after the fall of man – the first sin of Adam and Eve against their Creator. Satan, as a cunning serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life. However, Jesus as the New Adam did not fall into the same trap. He too was tempted, while He was fasting in the desert, which is the first time we see Satan directly tempting Christ to abandon His mission.

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (Matthew 4:5-7)

The first time we see the White Witch confront Aslan, she tries to show him that what he is doing by helping Edmund is wrong, because Edmund is a traitor. Just as Satan tried to convince Christ to abandon what He was doing by citing the Old Testament, which was the Jewish Law, the White Witch tries to do the same with Aslan. She says, “Have you forgotten the laws upon which Narnia was built?” And, just as Christ refutes Satan’s attempts to outsmart Him, Aslan replies to her, “Do not cite the deep magic to me, Witch.” Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Law, the expected Messiah who was spoken about by all of the prophets. In Satan’s foolishness, he failed to realize that Christ Himself is the very Word of God, and Satan would not be able to use God’s word against Him. The White Witch’s attempts to re-claim Edmund were overthrown by Aslan’s willingness to sacrifice himself in Edmund’s place. How vividly we see this in the ultimate sacrifice of Christ! For He has taken all of our sins upon Himself, and has suffered the pains of death in our place!

Through Christ’s sacrifice, he has enabled us to live with Him in eternal life in heaven, and we achieve this by living a holy life, the best way we possibly can. Naturally, because of our fallen human nature, we are weak, and can do nothing without Christ. Because of this, we are still sinners, and need the Sacrament of Confession to wipe away our sins, and ask God for forgiveness. There is a story about St. Margaret Mary Aloquoqe, where she told her confessor that she had been seeing visions of Jesus, and that she wanted to be sure that these visions were true. Her confessor told her that when she sees this vision again, ask Him what her sins were that she had just confessed, and if it truly was Jesus, He would know this. The next time she saw the vision of Jesus, she asked Him what her sins were, and He said, “I forgot.” C. S. Lewis offers an incredible demonstration of the nature of forgiveness, as we have just seen in the movie. After Edmund is rescued and brought back to Aslan’s camp, we see both Aslan and Edmund alone on the mountain. After coming back down, Aslan tells Peter and the others, “What’s done is done; there is no need to speak to Edmund about what has passed…”

After Edmund was forgiven, we know that Peter sort of makes up with him, but it is easy to see that there is not perfect reconciliation between the two of them until the end of the movie. Edmund has not yet done his “penance” by battling the White Witch. It is only until after the battle is won when they are finally reconciled. This represents the effects of sin, and how they can be damaging not only to the person committing the sin – by breaking the relationship with God – but also to God’s family, which is the Church. It is so important my friends, that we battle the darkness of sin by doing penance, and helping others whenever we can. By truly living out the virtue of humility, we can achieve this perfect reconciliation with God and share in unending joy with Him for all of eternity.

The best model of humility that we have to look to as an example for all of us is Jesus. The God of the entire universe, Creator of all things, all-powerful, came to us as a fragile little baby, completely dependent on Mary and Joseph to survive. He then, fully knowing He was to die a humiliating, painful death on the altar of the cross, humbly accepted this as the Father’s will for Him, so that he would be able to save us from sin.

And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
(Matthew 27:50-51)

After Jesus died, the temple was split in two, symbolizing the fulfillment of God’s covenant with His people. This shows us that Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant made with the Israelites in the Old Testament, and that now He will make all things new. Aslan, being led to his altar, is followed in the distance by Susan and Lucy. Again, we see C. S. Lewis’s incredible work shine through once more. Susan and Lucy represent Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Mother, following Christ as He was led to Calvary. Just as Susan and Lucy witness the horrible death of Aslan at the hands of the White Witch’s minions, the two Mary’s look on as Christ is crucified by the hands of the Roman soldiers. As our Blessed Mother holds her Son after He was taken down from the cross, we see Lucy holding the lifeless body of Aslan, thinking all hope is lost.

Just as Christ rose again from the dead after sacrificing Himself, Aslan resurrects in front of Susan and Lucy. He then takes them to the White Witch’s castle, where he breathes on the stone statues to bring them back to life. We are reminded here of two events found in Scripture, one in the Old Testament, and one in the New. On the one hand, this can be seen as God breathing life into man, after creating Adam from the earth. This can also be seen as Christ breathing the Holy Spirit onto His disciples, which is, once again, another scripture being fulfilled in Christ.

Jesus said to [His disciples], "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22)

We can also see this today, at the Chrism Mass celebrated here at our Cathedral on Holy Thursday. Almost all of the priests of the Archdiocese go to the Cathedral for this Mass, where they will receive from the bishop the chrism for their parishes. The bishop breathes on this Chrism, the same way that Christ breathed on His disciples. One Sacrament this Chrism is used for is the Sacrament of Confirmation, where – just as Christ gave the Holy Spirit to his disciples – the same Holy Spirit descends upon us.

Finally my friends, we arrive at the battle. As Peter and the others charge on to defeat the White Witch and her army, the resurrected Aslan arrives on the scene at the end. Ultimately, the White Witch is defeated by Aslan, and peace is restored to Narnia. This parallels our very life here on earth. Although our redemption has taken place through the death and resurrection of Christ, we still are in a constant battle with Satan and his army, trying our very best to avoid temptation and sin. We still need to fight, but just as Aslan returns at the end of the battle to finally defeat the White Witch once and for all, Jesus will return to conquer Satan in His glory and bring peace to all as we spend eternity with Him in the heavenly Jerusalem.

God bless you.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at Sunday, March 01, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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