Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Loving Aslan too much

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published February 5, 2015

As a child I was taught that my life purpose was knowing, loving and serving God, but like most children I struggled to love someone I couldn’t see, hear or touch. Still, I had no problem loving my mother with all my heart, and envisioning her as the center of my universe, a place where joy and hope thrived.

2015 02 05 GB MURRAY Loving Aslan too muchOn Valentine’s Day I fashioned her a card from white doilies and red paper, and if there were enough coins in the piggy bank, I’d also buy her some “diamond” jewelry at the five-and-dime. Frankly, my devotion to her didn’t seem odd to me, nor did it make me wonder if I was putting someone in the place of God.

But in a book titled “C.S. Lewis: Letters to Children,” I recently read about a little boy who fretted about this very notion. In 1955 a woman wrote Lewis about her 9-year-old son, Laurence, who said he loved Aslan more than Jesus, and feared this was the sin of idol worship.

Aslan, of course, is the fictional lion Lewis fashioned for his magical realm called Narnia. Writing to schoolchildren, Lewis revealed that he created Aslan by supposing “there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there.”

In “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Aslan sacrifices his own life to save a boy who betrayed him and is put to death by a witch in a chilling scene reminiscent of the crucifixion. Aslan submits to his fate without uttering a word while a crowd kicks him, spits at him and mocks him.

Lewis told Laurence’s mother he didn’t think her son’s love for Aslan was sinful. “God knows quite well how hard we find it to love Him more than anyone or anything else,” Lewis wrote, “and He won’t be angry with us as long as we are trying.”

In loving Aslan, the boy was really loving Jesus—and maybe loving him more than ever before. After all, “The things he loves Aslan for doing or saying are simply the things Jesus really did and said.”

Besides, Lewis added kindly, talking animals appeal to children because that’s how their imaginations work—and their imaginations are God’s creation.

A few years ago I was struggling with a dilemma similar to Laurence’s, although it didn’t involve an endearing talking lion. You see, my husband was out of town for a week, and during those long, lonely hours I discovered how much I rely on him.

In a panic I wrote my spiritual director, admitting, “I am peering into my own heart and seeing I have been far too dependent on one person and that Person is not Jesus Christ.”

I expected him to tell me how to love Christ more and taper off somewhat in my feelings for my husband, but he said something quite different.

“You actually love Christ through Jef, and He gave you Jef,” he wrote. “Our love for Christ is not in competition with our love for others, but flourishes because of His grace.”

These words seem a beautiful echo of what C.S. Lewis wrote long ago. There is no sin in loving someone deeply whether that someone is a sweetheart, a parent, a child—or a courageous talking lion in a book.

And on Valentine’s Day especially we might recall that Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you”—and recognize that as we cherish the special people in our lives, we come closer to loving him.





Artwork is by Jef Murray. Lorraine’s latest humorous mystery is “Death Dons a Mask” available online. The Murrays are parishioners at St. Thomas More Church, Decatur. Readers may email them at