C. S. Lewis, who is perhaps best known for his Chronicles of Narnia, was also a profound Christian thinker. Reading the Chronicles of Narnia aware of Lewis’ faith transforms those well-loved children’s stories into a rich narrative of the Christian life. Lewis was a practicing Anglican who, amidst the vast range of theological opinions amongst Anglicans, held views of the sacraments and the Church with which Catholics can (on the whole) be quite comfortable.
Given at the 2015 conference of Musica Sacra Florida at Ave Maria University.
The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, of which I am proud to be a Priest, takes its name from the small rural village of Little Walsingham in Norfolk on the east coast of England. In 1061, some five years before the Norman conquest, Walsingham was the site of an apparition of Our Lady to a local noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches. The Blessed Virgin, in the words of the well-loved Walsingham pilgrimage hymn, instructed Richeldis: “Take note, my dear daughter, and build here a Shrine / As Nazareth’s home in this country of thine.” Obedient to the Mother of the Lord, Richeldis did exactly that, constructing a Holy House (one of several in medieval England) to commemorate the place of the Lord’s own home, the place of his dwelling with the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph.
Homily given for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord at St Mary, Cadogan Street:
The solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, which we keep today, presents us with three core truths. First, Christ’s ascension ‘marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain’. Secondly, the Lord, as ‘the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever’. Thirdly, the Lord, ‘having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit’ (cf. CCC §665-667).
In the simplest possible terms these truths give us three causes for hope, three reasons to be joyful that we are incorporated into the body of Christ by virtue of the baptism we share with him. In the Lord’s ascension, we are assured of a place set aside for us in heaven, of his abiding presence with us here and now, and of his intercession for us at the right hand of the Father.