Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lord of the Rings Quotes

Two recent horrible acts of violence in my home country have made me understand the despair that Theoden feels. I think Tolkien knew that feeling better than most--he lived through both world wars, was a combatant in one of the bloodiest battles of the entire century and witnessed thousands of his countrymen die beside him.

Yet--remarkably--there is a thread of hope that winds its way through all of Tolkien's works. Sam has hope, Aragorn has hope, Gandalf has a "fool's hope", Arwen has hope. In the face of the earth-shattering conflicts they faced in Middle-earth, in the face of the terrible wars and death Tolkien witnessed, they still had hope. Even though things may seem bleak, and it may look as though there is no hope for humanity, remember that "even the wisest cannot see all ends" and "no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined."

Aragorn and Theoden are encouraged by Gandalf's words, "At dawn on the fifth day, look to my coming, at dawn, look to the east." The direction of Gandalf's coming could not have been a coincidence. The medievals saw great significance with the direction east, something I have a hard time imaging Tolkien would have overlooked. They built their churches facing ad orientem, buried their dead with their feet always pointing east and always looked that direction for the rising of the sun and the coming of the Risen Son, Jesus.

Even in the face of tragedy, let us not forget to keep our eyes fixed eastward, that is, looking for the coming of Christ and keep up our hope. Do not despair--there is always hope.  Please pray for all the victims of recent violence and for the salvation of souls.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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