Sunday, May 18, 2008

Some Reflection on the Battle Theme of Prince Caspian

Peter Pevensie has grown physically since his last foray into Narnia, yet he still carries the schoolboy swagger that causes trouble for him in school in London, and on the battlefield of Narnia. He has forgotten that he was no king until crowned by Aslan, whose death and resurrection made the stunning victory over the White Witch possible. Prince Caspian who has never known Aslan personally, does not know how to rely on his power, and is driven by a sense of revenge and a desire for justice. It takes young Lucy whose faith has kept her heart open to Aslan, to remind the young men from whence their power comes, and turn tragedy into triumph.
How often in Western Society, we are full of the pride of our technical, economic, and military capabilities, and are tricked by the enemy into feeling that we have outgrown our need for God. We look down upon less educated, poorer nations like the Philippines where their Catholic faith is still vibrant, certain we have little to learn from them. We are wrong, according to the author of “Prince Caspian”. We are sowing the seeds of our own decline.

CS Lewis lived in the century of the fiercest persecution of Christians in the history of the world, and Prince Caspian is centered on a battle. What kind of battle is he suggesting? A battle for freedom from oppression in which Aslan, or Christ guides us, and the pure of heart are leaders. The oppression is a spiritual one; we have enslaved ourselves to our own pride, materialism and secularism. Perhaps this allegory should be seen as an indictment of our culture where religion is relegated to the realm of innocuous hobbies, in an attempt to dissuade us from entering the fray. The beauty of society is dimmed as our lack of faith allows evil to creep in, one court ruling at a time. This is a dramatic representation of the facts presented in "Expelled".

Pope Benedict recently said, at a meeting at the Pontifical Council for Culture,

"the secularization that is present in cultures as an arrangement of the world
and of humanity without reference to Transcendence is today invading every
aspect of daily life, and is developing a mentality in which God is effectively
absent, in whole or in part, from human existence, and understanding. . .It
deeply undermines the Christian faith from within, and in consequence undermines
the lifestyle and daily behavior of believers.
They live in the world and are often not affected, if not determined by the culture of the image that imposes contradictory role modes and impulses in the practical denial of God: there is no longer any need for God, for thinking of Him and returning to Him.
And furthermore, the predominant hedonistic and consumerist mentality fosters,
among both faithful and pastors, a tendency towards superficiality and
egocentrism. . .there is a risk of falling into spiritual atrophy and into an
emptiness of heart, sometimes characterized by surrogate forms of religious
membership and vague spiritualism. (Caspian resorting to witchcraft in the film)

It is clearly more urgent than ever to react to this trend, through recalling the lofty values of existence, which give meaning to life and can calm the disquiet of the human heart in it’s search for happiness: the dignity of the human person and it’s freedom, the equality among men, the meaning of life and death, and of that which awaits us after the conclusion of earthly existence. ”
March 9, 2008
HT Spero News.

Both CS Lewis and the Holy Father say we must not forget that we are merely pilgrims on earth, that heaven is our home, meanwhile, we must take up our swords, and plunge ourselves into the culture wars.

“put on the armor of Christ that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” St. Paul in Ephesians 6:11-12 DR

As Aslan gently reprimands Lucy for taking so long to seek his help out of fear of the opinion of others, one must ask; what’s holding me back?

1 comment:

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

What a beautiful reflection. So much went unsaid in this movie but was conveyed through action. During the battle fields I had a feeling that you have described so well here. I was thinking about all the time and energy that is wasted on things that just don't matter in the end, when there are real righteous battles to be fought.