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Faith Like a Child: Lessons from The Princess and the Goblin

Kate Rudolph
Mrs. Friess addressed all students, faculty, staff, and parents at Monday’s opening ceremony to discuss the theological virtue of faith, which will be this month's theme. She used The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald to explain the importance of having a childlike faith.
Only Princess Irene and a few other people can see her great-great-great grandmother. Most others, including Irene’s friend Curdie, do not believe that she is real. Irene’s great-great-great grandmother tells her not to worry, because someday Curdie will be able to believe in her. After more adventures, Curdie starts to believe that she exists. Mrs. Friess said, “His experience and imagination lead him to trust what his eyes do not see.” Although Curdie does not see her, what he has experienced, combined with his imagination, make it possible to believe that Irene’s great-great-great grandmother does in fact exist.

Mrs. Friess said, “MacDonald believed that childlike imagination was the key to faith. Irene’s childlike faith believes without always seeing or perfectly understanding. The relationship between the grandmother and child is a mysterious
connection; the thread joined at one end to Irene’s finger and at the other end to the grandmother’s spinning wheel – like our connection to God. Each visit and conversation increased Irene’s knowledge of her grandmother’s being and revealed more of the mystery.” Irene’s faith grew as she continued to encounter her grandmother, even in ways that she could not see.

Mrs. Friess encouraged the students to foster a childlike faith in God. Irene was able to do this, and to show Curdie how to do it too. Their faith was open to things that are real, but that they could not always see, because they were confident in Irene’s great-great-great grandmother’s presence and love. Mrs. Friess said, “Now, isn’t that the character of our God? All-loving, all-good, all-powerful, and ever-present. May you have faith like a child this week to believe in God’s goodness! May your imagination touch the thread that you can feel but not see – and bring you towards the light.”

Artwork from Puffin Classics
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