Monday, December 24, 2012

Lewis knew what was going on!

Preliminary note: I found a two-tape movie of The Silver Chair, Book 4 of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis; so naturally I had to read the book again, and then I had to read all the rest.  These quotes are taken from the last book, The Last Battle, and they tell me that Lewis could see, even in 1956, where Western Civilization was going.  (By the way, when I read about Shift and Puzzle in the beginning, where Shift the Ape finds a lion skin and puts it on Puzzle the Donkey to pass him off as Aslan, I actually got angry.)

    "No, no, no," howled the beasts.  "It can't be true.  Aslan would never sell us into slavery to the King of Calormen."
    "None of that!  Hold your noise!" said the Ape with a snarl.  "Who said anything about slavery?  You won't be slaves.  You'll be paid -- very good wages too.  That is to say, your pay will be paid in to Aslan's treasury and he will use it all for everybody's good."

    "Now don't you start arguing," said the Ape.  ...  "What do you know about freedom?  You think freedom means doing what you like.  Well, you're wrong.  That isn't true freedom.  True freedom means doing what I tell you."

    "Please," said the Lamb, "I can't understand.  What have we to do with the Calormenes?  We belong to Aslan.  They belong to Tash.  They have a god called Tash.  They say he has four arms and the head of a vulture.  They kill Men on his altar.  I don't believe there's any such person as Tash.  But if there was, how could Aslan be friends with him?"
    All the animals cocked their heads sideways and all their bright eyes flashed towards the Ape.  They knew it was the best question anyone had asked yet.
    The Ape jumped up and spat at the Lamb.
    "Baby!  he hissed.  "Silly little bleater!  Go home to your mother and drink milk.  What do you understand of such things?  But you others, listen.  Tash is only another name for Aslan.  All that old idea of us being right and the Calormenes wrong is silly.  We know better now.  The Calormenes use different words but we all mean the same thing.  Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know Who.  That's why there can never be any quarrel between them.  Get that into your heads, you stupid brutes.  Tash is Aslan: Aslan is Tash."

    They did not try to comfort one another with words.  It wasn't very easy to think of anything to say that would be comforting.  Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape's setting up a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one.

    In the shadow of the trees on the far side of the clearing something was moving.  It was gliding very slowly Northward.  At first glance you might have mistaken it for smoke, for it was grey and you could see things through it.  But the deathly smell was not the smell of smoke.  Also, this thing kept its shape instead of billowing and curling as smoke would have done.  It was roughly the shape of a man but it had the head of a bird; some bird of prey with a cruel, curved beak.  It had four arms which it held high above its head, stretching them out Northward as if it wanted to snatch all Narnia in its grip; and its fingers -- all twenty of them -- were curved like its beak and had long, pointed, bird-like claws instead of nails.  It floated on the grass instead of walking, and the grass seemed to wither beneath it.

    "What was it?" said Eustace in a whisper.
    "I have seen it once before," said Tirian.  "But that time it was carved in stone and overlaid with gold and had solid diamonds for eyes.  It was when I was no older than thou, and had gone as a guest to the Tisroc's court in Tashbaan.  He took me into the great temple of Tash.  There I saw it, carved above the altar."
    "Then that -- that thing -- was Tash?" said Eustace.

    "It seems, then," said the Unicorn, "That there is a real Tash, after all."
    "Yes," said the Dwarf.  "And this fool of an Ape, who didn't believe in Tash, will get more than he bargained for!  He called for Tash:  Tash has come."
    "Where has it -- he -- the Thing -- gone to?" said Jill.
    "North into the heart of Narnia," said Tirian.  "It has come to dwell among us.  They have called it and it has come."

    "Do leave me alone," muttered Shift.  But he sat up straighter and began, in a louder voice ---
    "Now listen, all of you.  A terrible thing has happened.  A wicked thing.  The wickedest thing that ever was done in Narnia.  And Aslan --- "
    "Tashlan, fool," whispered Rishda Tarkaan.
    "Tashlan I mean, of course," said the Ape, is very angry about it."
    There was a terrible silence while the Beasts waited to hear what new trouble was in store for them.  The little party by the end-wall of the stable also held their breath.  What on earth was coming now?
    "Yes," said the Ape.  "At this very moment, when the Terrible One himself is among us -- there in the stable just behind me -- one wicked beast has chosen to do what you'd think no one would dare to do even if He were a thousand miles away.  It has dressed itself up in a lion-skin and is wandering around these very woods pretending to be Aslan."
    Jill wondered for a moment if the Ape had gone mad.  Was he going to tell the whole truth?  A roar of horror and rage went up from the Beasts.  "Grrr!" came the growls.  "Who is he?  Where is he?  Just let me get my teeth into him!
    "It was seen last night," screamed the Ape, "but it got away.  It's a donkey!  A common, miserable Ass!  If any of you see that Ass ----"
    "Grrr!" growled the beasts.  "We will, we will.  He'd better keep out of our way."
    Jill looked at the King: his mouth was open and his face was full of horror.  And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan.  By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.  What was the good, now, of telling the Beasts than an ass had been dressed up as a lion to deceive them?  The Ape would only say, "That's just what I've said."  What was the good of showing them Puzzle in his lionskin?  They would only tear him in pieces.  "That's taken the wind out of our sails," whispered Eustace.  "The ground is taken from under our feet," said Tirian.  "Curst, curst cleverness!" said Poggin.

    "Throw them into the shrine of Tash," said Rishda Tarkaan.
    And when the eleven Dwarfs, one after the other, had been flung or kicked into that dark doorway and the door had been shut again, he bowed low to the Stable and said:
    "These also are for thy burnt offering, Lord Tash."
    And all the Calormenes banged the flats of their swords on their shields and shouted, "Tash!  Tash!  The great god Tash!  Inexorable Tash!"  (There was no nonsense about "Tashlan" now.)

---------- Tash was called and it has come. ----------

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Things could be worse

I didn't sleep well . . . as usual.
There's about 7" or 8" of snow on the ground, heavy wet stuff
(The temp. is 30ยบ and the humidity is 78%),
and my knees hurt, along with a few other things.
But I feel just great,
because I went to confession yesterday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Little notes

I was delighted and surprised to see, at the Mass for the First Sunday of Advent, that Father wore violet vestments!

At my age, soon to be 68 (already 68 if you count conception), things go wrong.  I have trouble with back, knees, feet, etc.  I'm happily surprised on any day everything works right all at once.

One thing that helps me put up with all that is to simply remind myself that no matter how much I hurt, Jesus hurt worse.  The Morning Offering is especially helpful here too.

Speaking of which, the Morning Offering is one of my regular prayers.  Also Hail Holy Queen, the Prayer to St. Michael, and the Memorare.  Also meatless Fridays.  It's just easier for me to go back to the practices of my childhood.  Keeps life simple.

Trouble is that a tuna sub from Subway, or a veggie pizza from my favorite joint, isn't really a penance!

The Way of the Cross according to St. Alphonsus Liguori has become my favorite devotion.  I'm trying to memorize it so I can pray myself to sleep with it.  I can't imagine it doing any harm at all to meditate on the sufferings of Jesus.  We were purchased at a great price, says St. Paul.  (I think St. Paul.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Rex Gentium

Be alert!
Watch and wait!