St. Holbytla’s Monastery

Reading Tolkien in the Light of Faith

Archive for March 2009

March 25: Feasts of the Annunciation and the Fall of Sauron

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March 25 is the Feast of the Annunciation in the Catholic World and the Feast of the Fall of Sauron in Middle Earth.

I

The name Sauron sounds like rooted in “saur” as in dinosaur or “giant lizards.”  Lizards belong to the class Reptilia which includes snakes, turtles, and crocodiles.  Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures, i.e., their body temperature depends on its surroundings.  It is believed that dinosaurs are reptiles.

In the book of Genesis, the most prominent reptile is the snake.  Satan, in the form of a snake, tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Eve ate it.  She gave the fruit to her husband, Adam, who also ate it.  And they sinned. This is the Original Sin.

Sin entered into the world through the disobedience of a woman, Eve.  So to save people from their sins, it is fitting that this salvation would be done through the obedience of another woman, Mary.  By saying her “Yes” to the will of God, the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, and on her virginal womb, the Son of God became the Son of Man.

The Son of Mary is Jesus, whose name means he who shall save people from their sins.  In obedience to the will of the Father, Jesus died on the cross.  Then the veil on the temple covering the Holy of Holies was torn into two and the barrier that separated men from God was removed.  Christ died to preach the Gospel to the Dead, even to Adam himself, and opened the gates of heaven to them.  On Christ side flowed blood and water, which signify his church, his bride, just as Eve, the wife of Adam, was taken from Adam’s side.  Christ rules his Church as her head.  And through the Church and her Sacraments, Jesus undoes the works of Satan.  In the Last Day, Jesus shall crush the head of the Ancient Serpent, as promised by God in Genesis:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel. (Gen 3:15)

In the book of Revelation, the prominent reptile is the huge Red Dragon and his enemy is the Woman Clothed with Sun.  The Woman is Mary, the Mother of God.  Her title “Clothed with the Sun” is evident from the rays of light that shines forth from her in the icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe (The Aztec rendition of Guadalupe is “She who crushes the head of the Serpent”).  This title is also evident from the Miracle of the Sun that he wrought in Fatima.

The Huge Red Dragon represents Atheistic Communism, as explained by Our Lady to Fr. Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests.  The color is red because it enlarges itself by wars and conquests.  Red is the color of the flag of the former USSR and of China–the two communist countries.  Taken together, these two countries represent a vast land area and more than one-fifth of the world’s population.  The aims of these two countries is nothing less than the conversion of the world to Godless Communism.  Communism has already infiltrated the hierarchical church through Liberation Theology, and the tail of the dragon has swept a third of the stars–the priests, bishops, and cardinals.  The dragon has spewed out a flood of heresies against the Woman.  But as Our Lady promised in Fatima, “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

II

In Silmarillion, Sauron also battled against a woman named Luthien:

Then Sauron sprang upon Luthien; and she swooned before the menace of the fell spirit in his eyes and the foul vapour of his breath.  But even as he came, falling she cast a fold of her dark cloack before his eyes; and he stumbled, for a fleeting drowsiness was upon him.  Then Huan sprang.  There befell the battle of Huan and Wolf-Sauron….

Ere his spirit left its dark house, Luthien came to him, and said that he should be stripped of his raiment of flesh, and his ghost be sent quaking back to Morgoth; and she said: ‘There everlastingly thy naked self shall endure the ttorment of his scorn, pierced by his eyes, unless thou yield to me the mastery of they tower.’

Then Sauron yielded himself, and Luthien took the mastery of the isle and all that was there; and Huan released him.  (Silmarillion p. 206)

But the final defeat of Sauron was in the Lord of the Rings, when Gollum, with the ring he took from Frodo, fell to the fires of Mount Doom:

A brief vision he had of swirling cloud, and in the midst of it towers and battlements, tall has hills, founded upon a mighty mountain-throne above immeasurable pits; great courts and dungeons, eyeless prisons sheer as cliffs, and gaping gates of steel and adamant: and then all passed.  Towers fell and mountains slid; walls crumbled and melted, crashing down; vast spires of smoke and spouting steams went billowing up, up, until they toppled like an overwhelming wave, and its wild crest curled and came foaming down upon the land.  And then at last over the miles between there came a rumble, rising to a deafening crash and roar; the earth shook, the plain heaved and cracked, and Orodruin reeled.  Fire belched from its riven summit.  The skies burst into thunder seared  with lightning.  Down like lashing whips fell a toreent of black rain.  And into the heart of the storm, with a cry that pierced all other sounds, tearing the clouds asunder, the Nazgul came, shooting like flaming bolts, as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky they crackled, withered, and went out. (Return of the King pp. 240-241)

‘The realm of Sauron is ended!’ said Gandalf.  ‘The Ring-bearer has filfilled his Quest.’  And as the Captains gazed south to the Land of Mordor, it seemed to them that, black against the pall of cloud, there rose a huge shape of shadow, impenetrable, lightning-crowned, filling all the sky.  Enormous it reared above the world, and stretched out towards them a vast and threatening hand, terrible but impotent: for even as it leaned over them, a great wind took it, and it was all blown away. (Return of the King p. 243)

The date is March 25, 3019 of the Third Age.  The next day is the start of the Fourth Age.

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Boromir and Christ: “He Put All His Enemies Under His Feet”

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When Boromir was killed by the Urukhai, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli laid his body on a boat and let the Falls of Rauros bear it to the see, so that no orc or beast defile his bones:

Now they laid Boromir in the middle of the boat that was to bear him away.  the grey hood and elven-cloak they folded and placed beneath his head.  They combed his long dark hair and arrayed it upon his shoulders.  The golden belt of Lorien gleamed about his waist.  His helm they set beside him, and across his lap they laid the cloven horn and the hilts and shards of his sword; beneath his feet they put the swords of his enemies. Then fastening the prow to the stern of the other boat, they drew him out into the water. (Two Towers p. 7)

The phrase “beneath his feet they put” recalls the lines from the Psalm of David:

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars that you set in place–What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them little less than a god, crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them rule over the works of your hands, put all things at their feet: All sheep and oxen, even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever swims the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how awesome is your name through all the earth! (Ps 8:4-10)

St. Paul used this phrase again, but this time in reference to Christ:

May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to [God’s] call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

And Paul continued this theme in his other letter:

For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death…

“Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:25-55)

On Boromir’s feet lay the swords of his enemies.  But on Christ feet lay all his enemies, even death, for Christ conquered death by his Resurrection.

Written by Quirino M. Sugon Jr

March 18, 2009 at 5:29 am

Light Through a Broken Roof: the Hobbits in Isengard and the Paralytic in Capernaum

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After the Ents destroyed Isengard with a flood, Merry and Pippin led Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli to a room for lunch:

The hobbits led the way; and they passed under the arch and came to a wide door upon the left, at the top of a stair. It opened direct into a large chamber, with other small doors at the far end, and a hearth and a chimney at one side. The chamber was hewn out of a stone; and it must once have been dark, for its windows looked out only into the tunnel. But light came in now through the broken roof. On the hearth wood was burning.  (Two Towers p. 181)

The words “light came in now through the broken roof” recalls Jesus’s healing of a paralytic at Capernaum:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:1-5)

Written by Quirino M. Sugon Jr

March 11, 2009 at 10:07 am