CatholicNews ■ Sunday January 8, 2005

19

LIFE & FAITH

AN INCREDIBLE INDIAN PILGRIMAGE
Fast forward to about a decade later, and I am on the brink of adulthood, having doubts about my Christian faith and almost on the verge of becoming an atheist. I chanced upon a book called “Mere Christianity”. The author was C. S. Lewis. “Hmmm, didn’t he write that fantasy tale I read a long while back?” Not knowing much about C. S. Lewis, I was intrigued by what this author of children’s magical closely, as a religious. I find myself studying Theology at the Loyola School of Theology (Loyola) in the Philippines. In my Discernment course under Father Thomas Green, SJ, “The Screwtape Letters” by C. S. Lewis was part of my compulsory reading. By then I was more familiar with Lewis and in fact had already read “Screwtape” which incidentally is dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis’ good friend. Rereading “Screwtape” – the book is about a senior devil advising a junior devil how to prevent a person from becoming or remaining a Christian – now with a theological background and a deeper spiritual life gave me a fresher appreciation of Lewis. From the library of Loyola, I borrowed the entire “Chronicles of Narnia” and read with much relish and delight these wonderful tales, now on a much deeper level, gaining new insights and a richer grasp of the deep theological metaphors and allegories found in them. Further along my spiritual journey, I have read other works by C. S. Lewis. His insights to Christianity have helped me to grow in my faith, a faith that was rekindled by him. He remains a spiritual mentor to me as well as an inspiring literary “hero”. It is my hope that the film adaptation of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” will introduce C. S. Lewis and his inspiring body of work to those who have yet to discover him. At the same time, the film could also be a vehicle to translate the beauty of the Christian message and touch the hearts of audiences who may never get to hear it otherwise. ■

From 7th March 2006 – 12 days We invite you to join us in a Pilgrimage to Chennai, Goa, Kochi, Kolkata, Salem and Veilankanni. You travel by air except Veilankanni.

AT CHENNAI AND KOCHI: We visit St. Thomas’ burial place and view Our Lady’s icon. We also see the footprints of St. Thomas and the Cross he prayed each night. Pope John Paul II elevated Kochi’s Shrine to that of International Level – the first in Asia. This has been a Pilgrimage site for over 1000 years. GOA: See the incorruptable body of St. Francis Xavier over 450 years. KOLKATA: Visit Mother Teresa’s Home. We have invited through Mother Nirmala, Ms. Monica Besra to join us in a meal. You can see and speak to the living miracle that made Mother Teresa a Blessed and ask questions. Very few people in the world has this opportunity. Ms. Monica lives about 2 days travelling by bus and train from Kolkata. SALEM: We see beautiful Churches with legends of cures and favors granted. A local Priest will show us around. VEILANKANNI: This is also known to many locals as the second Lourdes due to the numerous cures reported. We bring you to see Our Lady’s Tank where the first miracle took place and also show you the porcelain plates depicting scenes from the Bible donated by the Portuguese sailors, about 400 years ago, whose lives were saved by Our Lady. Hear the latest miracle from the locals on Tsunami.

For more information, please call:

Joseph Lee 9247-8382 Ms. Ivy Koh (Dynasty Travel) 9741-4929

Sister Wendy Ooi, fsp, tells how C. S. Lewis helped her remain in the faith, continues to enlighten her on the faith and delights her literarily
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” – C. S. Lewis “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C. S. Lewis WHEN I FIRST read “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” as a child, I was not aware that it contained such rich Christian metaphors. It was simply a fascinating tale set in Narnia, a magical world with extraordinary creatures, and where chivalry and heroism ruled.

stories had to say about my faith – well, whatever was left of it. As I poured over “Mere Christianity”, I found answers to the many questions I had about God, about Christ, about Christianity. Looking back, that book was truly the key that released all my doubts and brought me back to be a believer. In fact it is beyond doubt the right book at the right time in my life. Published in 1943, “Mere Christianity” is a compilation of radio talks by Lewis. It includes a discussion of some reasons for believing that God exists, why it matters that he does, and continues with the redeeming work of God in Christ. After reading it, I was convinced that God does exist! Such was and is the power of good media. For bringing me back to being a believer in Christ, I am indebted to C. S. Lewis. Fast forward again to another decade and now I’m not only a believer but one who has responded to follow Christ more

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duty, honour and responsibility. As the only one of four friends who survived serving in World War I, Lewis took responsibility for looking after the teenage sister and mother of his deceased roommate, “Paddy” Moore. The Moore women lived with Lewis and his historian brother, retired Maj. Warren Lewis, for years in a two-storey, sixbedroom brick cottage near Oxford. Gresham witnessed an example of Lewis’ chivalry firsthand when, in 1956, Lewis proposed a “paper” marriage to his mother to prevent the family from being deported. Lewis soon realised how much he loved his wife when she was diagnosed with cancer just a few months later, and the two were married by an Anglican priest in 1957. Three years after his wife died, Lewis died on the day President John F. Kennedy was

shot: Nov 22, 1963. Eighteen years old when Lewis died, Gresham said he was “moved to tears” while reading Lewis’ letters expressing fondness for his stepchildren. “It

was enormously emotional when I realised he loved me as much as I loved him,” said Gresham, who considers his stepfather to be the best Christian he has ever known. ■ CNS

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A short biography of C. S. Lewis
BORN IN BELFAST, Ireland, on Nov 29, 1898, Clive Staples Lewis taught English Language and Literature in Oxford for 29 years before becoming Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature in Cambridge. Lewis was for many years an atheist and describes in his autobiography “Surprised by Joy”, “In the Trinity Term of 1929, I gave in, and admitted that God was God… perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” Yet it was this experience that gave him an empathy with those averted to religion. Lewis was an exceptionally gifted writer whose works have been read by millions and translated into over 30 languages. His wide range of writing, beside his scholarly work on Literary Criticism and Christian Apologetics, include poetry, novels, science-fiction, and children’s stories – all touched by his Christian faith. He died on Nov 22, 1963 at his home in Oxford.
(For more on the life of C. S. Lewis and his works, visit cslewis.drzeus.net)

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