St. Holbytla’s Monastery

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Gondor’s custom of looking westward before meals: Gloria Patri and the Salvation History

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The men of Gondor has the following custom before meals:

Before they ate, Faramir and all his men turned and faced west in a moment of silence.  Faramir signed to Frodo and Sam that they should do likewise.

‘So we always do,’ he said, as they sat down: ‘ we look towards Numenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and beyond Elvenhome and will ever be.  Have you no such custom at meat?  (Two Towers p. 320)

Was, is, will ever be.  These words recall the prayer Gloria Patri or the Glory Be to the Father:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

The Numenorians divide their history only into three ages.  The First Age is the Age of the Elves which ended with the overthrow of Morgoth.  The Second Age is the Age of the Numenorians which ended with the overthrow of Sauron, and the taking of the One Ring.  The Third Age is the War of the Ring which later ended with the destruction of the Ring and the crowning of Aragorn.  Saruman refers to these ages  as the Elder Days, the Middle Days, and the Younger Days.  He said to Gandalf:

The Elder Days are gone.  The Middle Days are passing.  The Younger Days are beginning.  The time of the Elves is over, but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which We must rule.  But we must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see. (Fellowship of the Ring pp. 290-291)

For Catholics, salvation history is also divided into three ages.  The First Age is the Age of God the Father, which is the Old Testament.  The Second Age is the Incarnation of Christ, God the Son, which is told in the Gospels.  The Third Age is the Age of the Holy Spirit and of the Church, starting from the Feast of Pentecost.  This is narrated in the Acts of the Apostles.  The Third Age shall end with the Second Coming of Christ as King who will judge both the living and the dead.

Written by Quirino M. Sugon Jr

October 29, 2009 at 9:38 am