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A Year With Aslan: Words of Wisdom and Reflection from the Chronicles of Narnia

A Year With Aslan: Words of Wisdom and Reflection from the Chronicles of Narnia
C. S. Lewis

This long-awaited daily reader brings 365 selections from The Chronicles of Narnia to provide daily inspiration, solace and guidance, as well as a memorable reminder of the power of C. S. Lewis’s enchanting stories and insightful themes. The Chronicles of Narnia have long been mainstays of children’s literature, but when re-read as an adult can deliver an entirely new experience. In the midst of these stories about adventures in a magical land are profound spiritual and ethical messages. A Year with Aslan selects the most thought-provoking and poignant passages from all seven books in the series, and provides reflective questions that get the heart of what matters most. There are many great moments found within the pages of The Chronicles of Narnia when C. S. Lewis is providing profound insights about what it means to be a better person and how to think the right way about things. This powerful but subtle ability to express human nature has helped make these books some of the most memorable and treasured stories ever written. This book of 365 passages allows the reader to reflect on these poignant lessons and see how they might apply to their own lives. The perennial appeal of Lewis as an inspirational writer and thinker is encapsulated more than anywhere else in this attractive and timely book.

A YEAR WITH

ASLAN

Words of Wisdom and Reflection from

The Chronicles of Narnia

C. S. LEWIS

Edited by Julia L. Roller

Contents

Cover (#u4f344c21-91e3-5d49-a21b-d3aa57068aba)

Title Page (#u44140733-f53b-556e-b8a0-8483e6dabe6c)

Preface

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

About the Author

Copyright

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Preface

Some books are fun to read. Rarer are those volumes that still delight us upon rereading. And then there are those rarefied species of books, those that we read, read again, and again, and keep reading. In fact, a part of us never really leaves the story. They become part of the geography of our souls, the landmarks by which we map and measure our lives. At least that has been my experience with C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Unlike most, I missed them completely when I was the right age to begin and only discovered them in college. And so my cycle of reading began. Especially helpful was the cover I was given by having two daughters who pleaded with me each night to read the books to them. “Well, if you insist.” Still, forever after, unbidden, and at all the right moments in my life, I saw Eustace struggle with his dragon skin, Digory debating obedience to Aslan versus saving his mother, Lucy chastising herself for sticking with the group even after she saw Aslan, Edmund facing his shame after his rescue from the White Witch, or Tirian and Jewel racing up Aslan’s mountain laughing while the dwarves think they are still in a dark hut.

We have created this volume for all those similarly haunted. Each day for a whole year brings an episode from anywhere in the seven volumes of the chronicles, an isolated story or scene that provides both delight and nourishment, an opportunity to reflect and deepen our experience of this landscape of wonder (with questions at the bottom of each selection for those who appreciate a nudge in a particular direction). I grew up in a tradition that encouraged a daily practice of reading and reflection as a spiritual workout, and we often heard admonishments for why we had to will it earnestly and overcome our natural resistance to this vital practice. (In other words, it was presented as the spiritual equivalent of “eat your vegetables.”) Yet this led me to the unexpected query, But what if I enjoyed it? Follow that line of thought and you will arrive at the very logic and purpose of this book.

We need to pause and thank Julia Roller, who selected the readings and drafted the questions; Cynthia DiTiberio, the editor at HarperOne who captained the project as well as Drinian guided the Dawn Treader; and, finally, to the C. S. Lewis Company, who graciously allowed us to play in this field. And now, for everyone else, “Farther up and farther in!”

– Michael G. Maudlin

JANUARY

JANUARY 1

The Creation of Narnia

FAR AWAY, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing. . . .

The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose.

Digory had never seen such a sun. The suns above the ruins of Charn had looked older than ours: this looked younger. You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travellers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours; they were fresh and hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.

It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright, it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.

– The Magician’s Nephew

What do you think it is like for Digory, Polly, and the others to stumble upon such a scene? Have you ever stumbled upon a scene of such wonder that it was hard to fathom? How did you react?

JANUARY 2

Their Own Secret Country

THE STORY BEGINS on an afternoon when Edmund and Lucy were stealing a few precious minutes alone together. And of course they were talking about Narnia, which was the name of their own private and secret country. Most of us, I suppose, have a secret country but for most of us it is only an imaginary country. Edmund and Lucy were luckier than other people in that respect. Their secret country was real. They had already visited it twice; not in a game or a dream but in reality. They had got there of course by Magic, which is the only way of getting to Narnia. And a promise, or very nearly a promise, had been made them in Narnia itself that they would some day get back. You may imagine that they talked about it a good deal, when they got the chance.

– The Voyage of theDawn Treader

What does having a place that you dream about, whether real or imagined, do for you? Have you been able to retain that sense of imagination and dreams in your adulthood?

JANUARY 3

Into the Wardrobe

AND SHORTLY AFTER THAT they looked into a room that was quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking-glass in the door. There was nothing else in the room at all except a dead blue-bottle on the window-sill.

“Nothing there!” said Peter, and they all trooped out again – all except Lucy. She stayed behind because she thought it would be worth while trying the door of the wardrobe, even though she felt almost sure that it would be locked. To her surprise it opened quite easily, and two moth-balls dropped out.