St. Augustine Prep Blog
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
By Brendan Towell – Associate Director of Admissions
Reading has always been my most consistent hobby and this summer I spent time revisiting some of my favorite childhood stories. A few of my favorites include The Little Prince, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Treasure Island, and The Hobbit. These, and many other tales, allowed my imagination to run wild and, in turn, allowed me to begin to grow in all kinds of new ways – socially, emotionally, creatively, and linguistically. While all of these works hold special places in my heart and memory, C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia will forever hold first place. As a very young child, my mother read the first books to me (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe being the most famous) and from there I tackled them on my own. I believe Lewis, like Tolkein (and other writers of “children’s” literature), communicated deep truths to their readers in a genre often overlooked.
As I was reflecting on the start of a new Academic Year (and consequently a new Admissions Season), a particular line in Lewis’s third published Narnia book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, came to my mind. In the scene, the three main human characters, Edmond, his sister Lucy, and their annoying cousin, Eustance, are having a conversation with a star (as in from the sky) that is retired. Yes, a retired star! Thinking the whole thing nonsense, even while speaking with the star, Eustance says:
“In our world, a star is (just) a huge ball of flaming gas.” To which the star (named Ramandu) reponds, “Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.”
This idea, I firmly believe, can be applied to the young men who attend St. Augustine Prep. Time and time again, the secular culture today (devoid of any talk of God) tells young people that they are simply a collection of biological building blocks that can be explained as a grouping of chemical elements or molecular types. While this is not (technically) false, is this really all they are? Of course not! That is what they are made of, not who they are.
I would also go a step further and say that at St. Augustine Prep we help young men discover, not only who they are, but who God is calling them to be; men of character, and integrity who are called to live a life of spiritual nobility and holiness. We will never limit our students by the standards of the secular culture because a Catholic and Augustinian education stands for more than what the current culture can offer – it stands for Truth, Unity, and Love in service to God and neighbor. C.S. Lewis understood this too when he wrote, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man into a clever devil.” The world has plenty of these “clever devils” but it needs more well-educated men of faith and virtue who will take our culture and our world to a better place; the world needs more Hermits.
Take some time and revisit a favorite childhood tale of your own (book or even film) and see how God might be speaking to you through that story today. You may be surprised by what you find.
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