“…[Y]ou and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness which has been laid upon us for nearly a hundred years.” -C. S. Lewis
In my last post, two weeks ago, I explored this concept of our having been placed under such a curse, living in a dense fog, and having forgotten our true identities.
The question is – how can we escape this dire situation? How do we wake up?
The first step is to remember. No easy task – how often is the call for Israel to remember repeated in the psalms and throughout the Scriptures! (Dt. 8:2, Dt. 15:15, Ps. 77:11, Ps.78:7, Ps.105:5, Ps. 106:7, Is. 44:21…) We see God work in our lives, making known to us our true purpose, but it doesn’t take much time for us to become distracted and forgetful. Because of this, our Christian life must be a life of constant conversion, constant repentance. We are fallen creatures, living in a fallen world, and our natural state is to drift away, becoming lost in the lies of the world.
In short, there is a lot of work involved in that deceptively simple step. But when it comes down to it, the central key to carrying it through is – prayer.
One of the best images I can think of to illustrate this method at work can be found in the sixth book of Narnia, The Silver Chair. Aslan sends two children, Jill and Eustace, on a quest to find the lost Prince Rillian; in order to succeed in this quest, he gives Jill four signs to follow. She is commanded to repeat them every night and every morning, to have them at the front of her mind at all times. For, Aslan warns them,
“Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly […] Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken […] That is why it is so important to know [the signs] by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters.” (Chapter 2)
As it turned out, the appearances were deceiving. The fog was thick. The journey was treacherous, and at one point, Jill, having neglected repeating the signs, decided instead to follow her own reasonable desire for a comfortable shelter, warm food, and a hot bath. (That path was nearly the end of them.)
But the one thing that led them true, the one thing that, in the end, broke the witch’s spell, was the daily commitment to remembering those signs – allowing them to remember the quest, and thus to remember the quest-Giver.
The fog in this world is thick, too. All those worldly voices assuring us of the reasonableness of our distractions and wants can easily sweep us away. And because of this, we must not waver. We must not leave off repeating the signs. In other words – we must remain faithful to opening ourselves daily to God in prayer. He will open our eyes more and more, as we let Him. We, too, are given a mission, a vocation, in this world. We, too, are called to a real, beautiful story. Let us remember!