For as long as I can remember, I have been a bookworm. In elementary school, we would have the opportunity to go to the library once a week which was always a great joy for me. In 2nd or 3rd grade, my librarian led me to the world of Narnia and a book called “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”. As I read this book, I was captivated by the different characters and the magic of Narnia.
At the time, I didn’t realize that there was a connection between the world of Narnia and Christianity. It’s something that I didn’t truly understand or appreciate until I was an adult. Now that I’m really focusing on my Catholic mom journey, I’ve made the decision to read this incredible series again as part of my Catholic mom self care and with a keen eye to the religious allegory that is woven throughout each page.
What Books are Included in The Chronicles of Narnia in Order?
The Chronicle of Narnia in order according to publication date are as follows:
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)
- Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
- The Silver Chair (1953)
- The Horse and His Boy (1954)
- The Magician’s Nephew (1955)
- The Last Battle (1956)
Interestingly, “The Magician’s Nephew” is actually considered to be a prequel to “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” so for purposes of my reading, I’m planning to read “The Magician’s Nephew” first.
Is There a Connection Between the Chronicles of Narnia Books and Catholicism?
There is, without a doubt, a connection between the Chronicles of Narnia series and elements of Catholicism. C.S. Lewis, the author of the series, was a devout Christian and his faith had a significant influence on his writings, including the Chronicles of Narnia.
While Lewis himself was a Protestant, many readers have noted Catholic themes and symbolism in his works. Some of these connections include:
- Allegory and symbolism: The Chronicles of Narnia often contain Christian allegory and symbolism, similar to the way that Catholicism uses symbols and stories to convey spiritual truths. For example, Aslan, the great lion who is the central character of the series, is often seen as a Christ figure, representing Jesus in the story.
- The presence of sacraments: In the Chronicles of Narnia, there are moments that resemble the sacraments of Catholicism. In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” Aslan sacrifices himself on the Stone Table, which parallels the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. His death and subsequent resurrection mirror the concept of redemption and salvation.
- Moral teachings and theological concepts: The series explores themes of sin, forgiveness, sacrifice, redemption, and the battle between good and evil, which are central to Christian theology, including Catholicism.
- Spiritual journey and conversion: The characters in the Chronicles of Narnia often undergo spiritual journeys and transformations, similar to the concept of conversion in Catholicism. They learn moral lessons and grow in their faith throughout the series.
While Lewis did not set out to write an explicitly Catholic allegory, his Christian beliefs and familiarity with Catholicism influenced the themes and imagery found in the Chronicles of Narnia. It is worth noting that different readers may interpret the series differently, and the connection to Catholicism is just one of the possible interpretations.
Why Did C.S. Lewis Write the Chronicles of Narnia?
C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia for several reasons, including his love for storytelling, his desire to convey Christian themes and moral lessons, and his belief in the power of imagination.
First and foremost, Lewis was a passionate storyteller. He had a deep appreciation for myths, fairy tales, and fantasy literature, and he believed in the transformative power of imagination. Lewis once said, “I have seen landscapes, notably in the Mourne Mountains and southwards which under a particular light made me feel that at any moment a giant might raise his head over the next ridge.” He sought to create a world that would capture the imagination of his readers and transport them into a different realm.
Another important aspect of Lewis’s motivation was his Christian faith. As a committed Christian, Lewis wanted to convey spiritual truths and moral lessons through his writing. He believed that fantasy and allegory could be powerful tools to explore deeper themes and convey complex ideas in an accessible and engaging manner. The Chronicles of Narnia allowed Lewis to incorporate Christian symbolism and theological concepts into a fictional world that would resonate with readers of all ages.
Furthermore, Lewis was motivated by a desire to reach a younger audience with his Christian message. He once wrote, “I am aiming at a sort of children’s story which will… be read with pleasure by adults, and reread by them… and will, I think, be one of those books which are read and liked by some children and disliked by some adults.” Lewis understood the importance of engaging children in matters of faith and believed that storytelling was an effective way to do so.
Overall, C.S. Lewis wrote the Chronicles of Narnia as a means to combine his love for storytelling, his Christian beliefs, and his desire to engage and inspire readers, both young and old. The series stands as a testament to his creative imagination and his commitment to sharing timeless moral and spiritual lessons.
Why I’ve Decided to Read The Chronicles of Narnia Again
I can’t emphasize enough how truly magical this series is for so many reasons. Although I’ve read many of these books numerous times, I have never read them with the mindset of a Catholic. While I do know some general information when it comes to the modeling of the lion Aslan after Jesus, I want to dig in deeper here. C.S. Lewis is an example of an author who wrote with a purpose and a bigger message hidden within his writing. Although C.S. Lewis didn’t identify himself as a Catholic, at his core, he did believe in countless Catholic values which I’m interested in seeing come to life throughout these books.
Stay tuned for my individual breakdown on each book!