Are you familiar with C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia? Do you remember the story, The Magician’s Nephew, in which a young boy named Digory, along with his friend Polly, travel across the worlds? Initially, the two make their way to a dying world, Charm, where Digory succumbs to his temptation to rattle a bell and winds up waking the evil Queen Jadis. Clinging to Digory’s ankle, Queen Jadis follows the children out of Charm and into our own world. She is determined to rule it. To make it bend to her will. Eventually, the children manage to get her out of our own world, but inadvertently bring her into a young and forming world: Narnia.
It was Digory who had first rung the bell to wake Jadis. And it was Digory that the Queen attached herself to throughout the novel. Always tempting him, always at his heels causing trouble, ultimately culminating in her tempting him to despair.
Of course, it isn’t only in Charm where sin follows temptation. Nor is it only in a magical fairy tale world of books that these temptations and sins follow us around.
Like the author of the Psalms, Digory’s foe surrounded and rose up against him. And, like both of them, our own temptations and sins surround and rise up against us. Always trying to attach themselves to our heels so that we drag them with us. They whisper in our ear, “there is no help…in God,” further tempting us to despair.
But Psalmst shows us a way out, for he doesn’t succumb to the despair. Rather, he proclaims, in verse 3,
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
And from here, things only look better. Because, from here, the Psalmist can see reality. He wakes from the sleep of death that Christ has overcome (Romans 1:4) and can see the truth.
“Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek,
You break the teeth of the wicked.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
Your blessing be upon your people!
In Lewis’ story, it is at the point of despair that Digory remembers the great lion, Aslan’s, tears. That this lion of lions somehow cares more about him and his own mother than even he does. In short, he sees reality. That the apple might look good, but that Aslan knows how it will really turn out. Digory only need only ask for his help.
And the same is true for us. I Kings 8:30 reminds us that the Lord always listens to prayer when it offered to him. Temptation and sin follow us around, nipping and biting at our heels, and often showing up in the most unexpected of places. But Our Lord has given us a way out. He shows us, through the Pslams, that we need only to proclaim his victory. We need only adjust our viewpoint, and then ask him for his help. Christ has already won; there is no room for despair.
Reflect: Sometimes, like Digory, we ring the bell, so to speak, and invite evil into our lives. Is there something you are struggling with that, perhaps, you invited into your life?
Reflect: Is there something in your life that keeps digging into your heels, invited or not?
Act: When was the last time you went to confession? The best way to adjust our viewpoint and proclaim Christ’s viewpoint is through this sacrament. If you aren’t in the habit of making use of this sacrament, develop the habit. Set up a schedule - start with once a month - and add it to your calendar.