Model of Consecration: The People of Gondor

Meditation of the Day

After the ending of the Third Age of the world into the new age [the City] preserved the memory and the glory of the years that were gone. (Bk6 Ch5)

The citadel of the saints is not merely passive in its acceptance of the rule of Elessar and Arwen; nor does it show only momentary enthusiasm at the renewal of the kingship of Men. The inhabitants of Minas Anor, and the people of Gondor in general, show themselves to be faithful to their vocation as heirs of the greatness of Númenor, as both recipients and transmitters of the immense treasures of wisdom and beauty passed down from ancient times among the races of Elves and Men. In Christian terms, we would say that the people are faithful to their baptismal vocation, which includes adhering to the totality of divine Revelation, and faithfully transmitting the treasures of the Church’s Tradition to future generations. As people of God, we are bearers of a sacred trust. Tradition is a living, breathing reality, much like the “trees and fountains” that adorn the renewed capital of the South-kingdom. As Faramir insightfully explained to Frodo, it is when the kings of old “made tombs more splendid than houses of the living, and counted old names in the rolls of their descent dearer than the names of sons” that they doomed themselves to extinction.

During our time of preparation for total consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we have surveyed some of the treasures of the Church’s doctrinal, spiritual, liturgical, and musical heritage pertaining to the Blessed Virgin Mary. May we continue to explore the riches of this tradition, and commit ourselves to passing it on to others, especially the younger generations, as well as profiting from it ourselves. In the Kingdom of God, riches multiply when they are given away. It is we who must make Mary better known and loved, so that her Son may be better known, loved, and adored, to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer

Of Your Love, O Mary

O blessed Virgin,
did anyone ever invoke you in need
and yet fail to receive help?
Only such a person could remain silent
about your mercy.
As for us, who are your poor servants,
we congratulate ourselves for you
on account of all your other virtues,
but we rejoice in your mercy
in a special way for ourselves.
We praise your virginity,
and we admire your humility;
but your mercy has an even sweeter taste for us sinners.
We have a preferential love for your mercy,
we remember it more often,
and we invoke it more frequently …
Who then could measure,
O blessed Lady,
the length and breadth, height and depth
of your mercy?
Its length extends indeed until the last day,
so that you may come to the aid
of all who invoke it.
Its breadth spans the whole world,
so that the whole earth is full of your mercy.
Its height is such that it brought about
the restoration of the heavenly city.
Its depth achieved the redemption of those
who sat in darkness and the shadow of death.
Thanks to you,
heaven has been populated,
hell has been emptied,
the ruins of the heavenly Jerusalem have been rebuilt,
and the unfortunate people living in hope
have been given back the life they had lost!
Thus it is that your charity,
so powerful and at the same time so gentle,
pours forth in abundance,
manifesting itself tenderly
and lending assistance effectively. Amen.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • In preparation for making the act of total consecration to Jesus through Mary, it is highly recommended—if possible—to go to confession and receive sacramental absolution. If this is not possible, we can at least, after carefully examining our conscience, make an act of perfect contrition.
  • Since consecration to Mary is a form of renewal and extension of our baptismal promises, it may be helpful to retrieve some reminder of our baptism, such as a candle, garment, certificate, photo, etc. and display it prominently in our home.
  • We may begin to consider with whom we could share the idea of making a Marian consecration.

To Go Deeper

  • Read CCC 74-95.

Arwen | Queen of Peace

Meditation of the Day

Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.
Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through, and he is victorious.
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you all the days of your life.
And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.
Sing all ye people! (Bk6 Ch5)

Thus proclaims the eagle sent from the Valar, announcing the Good News to the people of Minas Tirith—the faithful city, the citadel of the saints, a shining image of the Church militant. To sing in praise of God’s mighty deeds is one of the primary duties of God’s holy People on earth. We see the entire people of Gondor responding to the summons with all their might: “And the City was filled again with women and fair children that returned to their homes laden with flowers; and from Dol Amroth came the harpers that harped most skilfully in all the land; and there were players upon viols and upon flutes and upon horns of silver, and clear-voiced singers from the vales of Lebennin” (Bk6 Ch5).

When Queen Arwen comes to the city, she too will join in this triumphant song: “Frodo went to the King as he was sitting with the Queen Arwen by the fountain, and she sang a song of Valinor, while the Tree grew and blossomed” (Bk6 Ch6). One of the central aspects of her role as queen will be to ensure that this song of praise continues to resound through the halls and streets and homes of her realm, even when the time of jubilation is over and the hard work of rebuilding must begin. There is no temple in the city, because the entire city is meant to be a temple, continually celebrating the gift of salvation.

So it is with the ongoing role of Mary in the Church. Like her ancient namesake Miriam, who led the Israelite women in a victory song with timbrels at the Red Sea (Ex. 15:20), our Queen of Peace is a songstress who lets her hymn of praise resound through the successive generations, until her Son comes again:

He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.

Luke 1:51-52

As her faithful sons and daughters, consecrated to her, we form a vast choir under her expert direction. Whenever hearts grow cold around us, or inspiration falters, or wisdom dims, or the road ahead seems strewn with obstacles, it will be our task to lift up our voices in her name, for the sake and praise of her Son.

Prayer

Today, the root of Jesse has produced its shoot: she will bring forth a Divine flower for the world…. Today, the Creator of all things, God the Word, composes a new book: a book issuing from the heart of his Father and written by the Holy Spirit, Who is the tongue to God….

O daughter of King David and Mother of God, the universal King; O Divine and living object whose beauty has charmed God the Creator; your whole soul is completely open to God’s action and attentive to God alone.

All your desires are centered only on what merits to be sought and what is worthy of love. You harbour anger only for sin and its author. You will have a life superior to nature – but not for your own sake. For it has not been created for you but has been entirely consecrated to God, who has introduced you into the world to help bring about our salvation in fulfillment of his plan – the Incarnation of his Son and the Divinization of the human race.

Your heart will find nourishment in the words of God, like the tree planted near the living waters of the Spirit, like the tree of life that has yielded its fruit in due time – the incarnate God who is the life of all things.

Your ears will be ever attentive to the Divine words and the sounds of the harp of the Spirit, through whom the Word has come to take on our flesh…. Your nostrils will inhale the fragrance of the Bridegroom, the Divine fragrance with which he scented his humanity.

Your lips will savor the words of God and will rejoice in their Divine sweetness. Your most pure heart, free from all stain, will ever see the God of all purity and will experience ardent desire for Him.

Your womb will be the abode of the one whom no place can contain. Your milk will provide nourishment for God, in the little Infant Jesus…. Your hands will carry God, and your knees will serve as a throne for Him that is more noble than the throne of the Cherubim….

Your feet, led by the light of the Divine Law, will follow him along an undeviating course and guide you to the possession of the Beloved.

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit, the city of the living God, made joyous by abundant flowers, the sacred flowers of divine grace. You are all-beautiful and very close to God, above the Cherubim and higher than the Seraphim, right near God Himself!

St. John Damascene

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Sing! Sing the song that arises from the depths of your heart, when your spirit perceives that God has won the decisive victory for us against all darkness, that nothing can now separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, that all things work together for good, for those who love God (see Romans 8).

To Go Deeper

Model of Consecration: Aragorn

Meditation of the Day

Even though the Dark Lord has been vanquished, the One Ring and everything constructed with its power have been destroyed, Elessar has been crowned King and has begun his reign in mercy and justice, even still his joy is not complete. He wishes the Companions of the Ring to remain by his side, because the end of their story has not yet come. “I would have you wait a little while longer: for the end of the deeds that you have shared in has not yet come. A day draws near that I have looked for in all the years of my manhood, and when it comes I would have my friends beside me.” (Bk6 Ch5). Even after everything he has gone through to enjoy this moment of glorious triumph, Aragorn the humble Servant-King does not trust in his own worth or in the value of his colossal accomplishments. Even though he has met Elrond’s impossible conditions, he does not take it for granted that his beloved bride will now be his. He submits his desire to the will of heaven, and as Gandalf explains, he “waits for a sign.”

The sign takes the form of a tender young sapling of the White Tree, sprung up unexpectedly from a seed planted centuries earlier. It is growing in a hallow unvisited by anyone since the line of kings failed, but Gandalf the White, messenger of Eru, has led Aragorn there. What was true of his own lineage is true of the Tree that guarantees divine blessing upon his dynasty. “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11). Aragorn is the embodiment of righteous, anointed kingship. Like David, he is a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14). It is only because he continually submits his human will to the will of God that he deserves to reign, and to be united to Arwen Evenstar.

Then at last, on the Eve of Midsummer, comes the fulfilment of Aragorn’s desire. “Last came Master Elrond, mighty among Elves and Men, bearing the sceptre of Annúminas, and beside him upon a grey palfrey rode Arwen his daughter, Evenstar of her people. And Frodo when he saw her come glimmering in the evening, with stars on her brow and a sweet fragrance about her, was moved with great wonder, and he said to Gandalf: ‘At last I understand why we have waited! This is the ending. Now not day only shall be beloved, but night too shall be beautiful and blessed and all its fear pass away!’” (Bk6 Ch5).

Consecration to Mary will form in us the same heart that was in Aragorn, a heart that seeks the will of God above the highest honours and riches of this world, a heart that readily puts others above oneself, a heart that is fit to be an instrument for the accomplishment of God’s own purposes in the world.

Prayer

Hail, Mary, Mother of God, venerable treasure of the whole world. You are the lamp that is never extinguished, the crown of virginity, the rule of orthodoxy, the incorruptible temple containing the one whom nothing can contain, the mother and virgin, through whom the one who comes in the Name of the Lord receives in the Gospel the name of “Blessed.”
We salute you, who have borne the immensity of God in your virginal womb. Through you, the Trinity is sanctified. Through you, the Cross is venerated in the whole world. Through you, heaven is filled with joy. Through you, the angels and archangels rejoice.
Through you, demons are sent flying. Through you, the tempter devil is cast out of heaven. Through you, the fallen creature is elevated to heaven.
Through you, the whole universe, possessed by idolatry, has attained the knowledge of the truth. Through you, holy baptism comes to those who believe. Through you, the oil of gladness reaches us.
Through you, churches are established in the whole world. Through you, peoples are led to conversion.
Through you, even more, the only-begotten Son of God has radiated like light upon those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death.
Through you, the prophets have announced their message, and the Apostles have proclaimed salvation to the nations.
Through you, the dead rise, and kings exercise their royalty, by the power of the Holy Trinity.

A father of the Council of Ephesus (431)

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Identify two or three areas in your life where you might be tempted to rely on your own strength, wisdom, or worthiness. Surrender these areas fully into God’s hands, through the hands of Mary.
  • Beg God to send His people leaders after His own heart, both in civil society and in the Church.

To Go Deeper

Arwen | Long-desired Bride of the Lamb

Meditation of the Day

And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfilment. (Bk6 Ch5)

The timing of the royal wedding of Aragorn and Arwen follows the chronology of the end times, as laid out in the final book of the Bible. It is only after the final defeat of evil that the Lamb’s kingdom is fully established and that the earth is ready, is pure enough, for the Bride to come down from heaven to meet Him. As the Catechism teaches, “The kingdom will be fulfilled . . ., not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven” (CCC 677). Although the “marriage of the Lamb” is announced in Rev. 19:6-9, all the superhuman enemies of God (the Beast, the False Prophet, the Devil, Death, and Hades) must first be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10,14—the eruption of Mount Doom fittingly causes rivers of fire to flow), before the Bride descends at last (Rev. 21:2). Like the wedding of Christ and the Church which it symbolizes, the union of Arwen with Aragorn inaugurates a time of pure bliss, unmarred by any further conflict with evil forces.

Undoubtedly, the intensity of the royal couple’s marital bliss will be commensurate with the heavy personal cost that both have borne in the forty years since their betrothal in Cerin Amroth. But the “long waiting and labours” that Aragorn took on to win his bride’s hand, as arduous as they were, even counting his symbolic passage through the realm of the Dead, pale in comparison to what our Saviour underwent out of love for us, His Church, during His Passion. Evoking the “great mystery” of the marital union between God and His people, St. Paul eloquently declares that Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25b-27).

Our Blessed Lady, assumed into heaven, already participates in the final triumph of her divine Son, the triumphant Lamb. She is the prototype of what will be our common inheritance, when the new heaven and new earth are finally revealed (see 1 Pet. 1:4-5). “In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium 68).

Prayer

PSALM 45 (TLV)

My heart is stirred with a good word.
I speak my verses to the king.
My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men.
Grace pours from your lips.
Therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and your majesty.
In your majesty ride victoriously,
on behalf of truth, meekness and justice.
Let your right hand display awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp.
Peoples fall beneath you—
into the heart of the king’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and a scepter of justice is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore, God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions.
All your robes have myrrh, aloes, cassia.
From ivory palaces, stringed instruments
make you glad.
Kings’ daughters are among your honored women.
At your right hand stands the queen
in gold of Ophir.
“Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear.
Forget your people and your father’s house.
Then the king will desire your beauty.
Honor him, for he is your lord.
A daughter of Tyre comes with a gift.
The richest people will court your favor.”
All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace—
her gown is interwoven with gold.
She will be led to the king in embroidered garments.
Her virgins, her companions following her, are coming in to you.
They are led in with joy and gladness—
they enter into the palace of the king.
Your sons will take your fathers’ place.
You will make them princes throughout the land.
I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations.
Therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever.

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Reflect for a few minutes (or longer) upon what it has cost Our Lord to present us to Himself as a pure and holy Bride. What more could He possibly have done to win our love? How our ingratitude and indifference must pain His Heart.

To Go Deeper

  • Read Revelation 21, with a good commentary.

Model of Consecration: Faramir

Meditation of the Day

In a footnote to a draft letter to an unidentified “Mr Thompson” (Letter 180), Tolkien lets slip the confidence that of all his characters, he identifies most strongly with Faramir: “As far as any character is ‘like me’ it is Faramir – except that I lack what all my characters possess (let the psychoanalysts note!) Courage.” We should expect to see in Faramir, then, the embodiment of the highest religious and moral aspirations that Tolkien, as Sub-creator, wished to communicate through his myth-making and storytelling.

There are several ways in which Faramir is unique among the characters of The Lord of the Rings. The most notable is that of all the great leaders we encounter in the story, he is the only one who experiences no temptation to appropriate the One Ring. “I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her, so, using the weapon of the Dark Lord for her good and my glory” (Bk4 Ch5). Although even Galadriel and Gandalf, wisest and noblest of the Wise, experience some vulnerability to the Ring’s seductive power, Faramir does not. He is absolutely free of self-seeking. Unlike his brother Boromir, he has no desire for glory, and no love for warfare, although he is a supremely skilled warrior and leader of men. Faramir’s absence of personal ambition is epitomized in his first words to Aragorn, upon awaking from his sickness: “My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?” (Bk5 Ch8).

A second distinguishing feature is that Faramir and his men are the only characters who are shown recognizably praying: “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 Númenor that was, and beyond to Elvenhome that is, and to that which is beyond Elvenhome and will ever be'” (Ibid.). Although this Standing Silence is only a simple grace before meals, and comprises no spoken words, it is noteworthy in a work that deliberately omits any reference to overt religious practice. We also observe the same tripartite temporal reference—to what was, what is, and what will be—that characterized Galadriel’s practice of contemplation. Faramir is a pure Númenórean not only in his flesh but in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23).[1]

A third unusual trait in Faramir is that his depth of learning and maturity of judgment have been acquired in a very short time: he is only in his thirty-sixth year, making him younger than all the hobbits in the Fellowship except Pippin. He speaks and acts as a ruler or loremaster with decades of experience, as one who would be welcome in the circle of the Wise. There must be a secret to this exceptional wisdom.

What illuminates all these unique features of Faramir’s character is the Biblical principle that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Here is the secret to his exceptional wisdom: “I understand more than the ancients, / Because I keep Your precepts” (Psalm 119:100). It is his piety and moral integrity that have allowed Wisdom to pervade his mind and heart. We get glimpses of his virtue in various brief remarks he makes to Frodo and Sam: “I would not snare even an orc with a falsehood”; “I do not slay man or beast needlessly, and not gladly even when it is needed. Neither do I talk in vain.” We may conclude that, long before meeting Éowyn, his “woman of valour” (Prov. 31:10), and being the catalyst for her transformation into a radiant icon of the Mother of Christ, Faramir was wedded to Lady Wisdom (see Prov. 3:13-18; 9:1-6).

Prayer

What shall bring me forward in the narrow way, as I live in the world, but the thought and patronage of Mary? What shall seal my senses, shall tranquilize my heart, when sights and sounds of danger are around me but Mary? What shall give me patience and endurance, when I am wearied out with the length of the conflict with evil, with the unceasing necessity of precautions, with the irksomeness of observing them, with the tediousness of their reception, with the strain upon my mind, with my forlorn and cheerless condition, but a loving communion with you!

You will comfort me in my discouragements, solace me in my fatigues, raise me after my falls, reward me for my successes. You will show me your Son, my God and my all. When my spirit within me is excited, or relaxed, or depressed, when it loses its balance, when it is restless and wayward, when it is sick of what it has, and hankers after what it has not, when my eye is solicited with evil and my mortal frame trembles under the shadow of the tempter, what will bring me to myself, to peace and health, but the cool breath of the Immaculate and the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon?

St. John Henry Card. Newman

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • In their encounter with Faramir, Frodo and Sam witness all seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation. It could be a fruitful exercise to pick out the details which reveal each gift, and to ask Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, to obtain an increase of them all in us.

To Go Deeper


[1] By tragic contrast, Denethor’s suicide is an act of despair in the theological sense, an apostasy: “No tomb for Denethor and Faramir. No tomb! No long slow sleep of death embalmed. We will burn like heathen kings before ever a ship sailed hither from the West. The West has failed. Go back and burn!”

Éowyn | Mother of the Living, Healer of the Land

Meditation of the Day

Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or else at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone on her. (Bk6 Ch5)

In the presence of the gentle, wise, patient love of Faramir (one who has been as deeply wounded by life and by the Shadow as she has), Éowyn undergoes a miraculous transformation: from despair to hope, from the grim pursuit of death to the joyful service of life, from self-protection to the vulnerability of intimacy, from the prideful desire to be a queen to unconcern about rank. She vows, “I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren.” Overjoyed, Faramir proposes that they make a home in Ithilien, a once fair garden land that was blighted by its proximity to Mordor. They will be renewers of the land. “All things will grow with joy there, if the White Lady comes.” She has come into the fullness of her spiritual stature (see Eph. 4:13). She will be a human counterpart to Galadriel, and an even more luminous icon of our Blessed Lady than she already was.

All this magnificent potential lay within Éowyn, but as Tolkien suggests, she did not understand her own heart. God had to reveal it to her, through a long, dark tunnel of suffering (shame, rejection, the feeling of being trapped, the soul-and-body-breaking encounter with the Witch-King). If only there could be an easier way, for her and for us! But grace prevailed in her, over the dark temptations, and prepared her to take the risky step of allowing Faramir to see her, with the eyes of love. Her stay in the Houses of Healing (another Marian image!) was the final catalyst. “Now that I have leave to depart, I would remain. For this House has become to me of all dwellings the most blessed” (cf. Luke 1:42).

Our Lady desires to oversee a similar process of inner transformation within each of us: away from the false self, often constructed as a defence against outside threats, and toward the true self, “which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24; cf. Col. 3:10). If we invite her, she will begin to delicately peel back the layers of inauthenticity that we may not even realize are covering our hearts. She will introduce us to her Son, the true Bridegroom of our souls, whose redemptive love is the only remedy that can make us whole.

Prayer

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem,
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere. 
Mother of Christ, hear thou thy people’s cry,
Star of the deep, and Portal of the sky!
Mother of Him who thee from nothing made,
Sinking we strive, and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Invite Mary to be the midwife of your truest self, your deepest spiritual identity. Give her permission to lead you to her Son, whose love will make you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), day by day.
  • Find a concrete way of expressing your desire to place yourself resolutely at the service of life.

To Go Deeper

Ioreth | Health of the Sick

Silvery Cinquefoil (Potentilla argentea). Low plant, flowers 1 cm across, roadside in an upland barrier beach forest.

Meditation of the Day

In Middle-earth, as we have already seen many times, wisdom is not the prerogative of the high and mighty, or of those who are accounted wise by others. The wisest of all—such as Gandalf—are precisely the ones who know that wisdom, and courage, can reside in the unlikeliest of places, even under the guise of foolishness. Hence the wizard’s centuries-old interest in the humble lives of hobbits. On hearing Boromir express skepticism about the folk tales concerning Fangorn Forest, Celeborn sagely remarked: “Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know” (Bk2 Ch8).

This lowly, earthy, easily dismissed wisdom is embodied in the person of Ioreth, “an old wife, . . . the eldest of those who served” in the Houses of Healing in Minas Tirith. Although the last king of Gondor disappeared almost a thousand years earlier, she calls to mind the tradition that a rightful king can be known by the gift of healing. It so happens that the only remaining claimant to the throne is encamped outside the city, and prompted by her saying, Gandalf will shortly call upon him to exercise his gift upon Faramir, Éowyn, and Merry, who are slipping into darkness from their encounters with the Nazgûl. It is also the old wives, not the pedantic herb-master, who correctly remember the virtues of athelas, the herb that in Elessar’s hands will cure the effects of the Black Breath.

Jesus, anointed with the Holy Spirit, is the great Healer of both souls and bodies. He “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). He brings relief from illness with a single word, a simple touch. Physical and emotional healings are powerful signs that the Kingdom of God has indeed drawn near, in the Person of Christ. His Blessed Mother is the one who continually reminds us where healing may be found, and who mercifully intercedes for us with her Son. It is in this sense that she is called upon as the “health of the sick.” Innumerable miraculous cures and healings have been attributed to her intercession, especially at the great shrines of Christendom. When those who follow merely human wisdom, or the medical knowledge gained from empirical evidence, see no hope for a cure, we can always entrust ourselves to the deeper wisdom of our Ioreth (“old woman”), the Mother of God.

Prayer

O Mother of Mercy,
be the succour and support of all the poor afflicted,
the consolation of those who mourn, the remedy of the sick,
I beseech you, O Mary.
You who are the beloved daughter of God the Father,
the Immaculate Mother of God the Son, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit,
you, whom the archangel hailed as full of grace,
be our advocate, ask for mercy for sinners.

O Mary, be the star that guides me, my light in the darkness,
my courage in adversity and my refuge in pain.

O Mary, full of compassion, O my Mother, never forsake me.
Through your intercession, may I soon share in your happiness in the ecstasy of the Angels and Saints.

O Virgin! purer than Heaven, protect me, protect my beloved family,
protect all your children, fill us with your favours,
adorn us with your virtues.
You are our advocate, ask for mercy for your poor sinners.

Ven. Marthe Robin

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Little children, and adults who have learned childlike ways, never hesitate to ask good things from their mother. They don’t overcomplicate things by prejudging whether their request is worthy of being granted. They simply ask, in any and all circumstances. And it gladdens their mother’s heart to see them ask with confidence. Let’s approach our Mother with the same childlike simplicity, for those in our lives who are afflicted in body and mind, or for ourselves.

To Go Deeper

Blog To Be Discontinued After June 20

Dear friends,

Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I will need to discontinue publishing this blog and its associated podcast after the conclusion of our path to consecration next Saturday, feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thank you for your response, your support, and your prayers. God willing, in the future, I hope to be able to publish the consecration in book form, with the collaboration of some talented artists. Please pray for God’s purpose in this regard to be achieved, for Our Lady to be better known and loved, and for the Professor’s cause to advance.

Namarië!

Model of Consecration: Merry

Meditation of the Day

Although he has in all earnestness pledged his service to the Lord of the Mark, Meriadoc finds himself, like the Lady Éowyn, ordered to remain behind when the Riders answer the summons of the war-beacons. Of what use could an untrained halfling possibly be in mounted combat? While all his friends (even Pippin) have found their way to engage the enemy in this apocalyptic War, Merry is condemned to sit on the sidelines. But he is not invisible to the divine providence that is guiding all things to their fulfillment. His lowliness is in fact his greatest asset. He is rescued from his frustration and dejection by another, who has also been told to “keep the home fires burning” while the men find glory and death on the battlefields of Gondor. As “small, unwanted, and lonely” as he might feel, he willingly endures the humiliation of being treated as Dernhelm’s baggage, for a chance at least to do some good, somehow. He doesn’t know what use he might be; all he knows is that he must follow the King, to the end. What an icon of pure discipleship for us![1]

Both Éowyn and Merry look upon Théoden as a father, and it is armed with this love that they are able to overcome the terror that would have rendered the most skilled warrior helpless. Judged unworthy by men to even join the host of the Rohirrim, they prove themselves worthy of fulfilling the ancient prophecy, and bringing to an end the sorcery that binds the Ringwraith to his physical form.

The stone which the builders rejected / Has become the chief cornerstone. / This was the Lord’s doing; / It is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22-23)

At the decisive moment, Merry is filled with admiration for Éowyn’s more-than-manly courage: “She should not die, so fair, so desperate! At least she should not die alone, unaided.” Giving no thought to himself, seeking only to help her, he crawls forward to strike the foe. No knight of the Mark could have asked for a more valiant squire.

In the traditional form of consecration crafted by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, we pledge to become Mary’s property, her “slaves.” Her baggage, just like Merry. Her little squires, overlooked by the evil one as “no more than a worm in the mud,” because his malicious attention will be entirely fixed on her. But this diversion, effected by our consecration, is precisely what will allow us to deliver the blow that will free us and those we love from the enemy’s tyranny, once and for all.

Prayer

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.

“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

“Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.

“The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.

“The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.

“For by strength no man shall prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”

(1 Samuel 2:1-10 NKJV)

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Like Merry, we will rise to our true greatness when we have finally broken free from the shackles of the ego and are thinking the least about our selves. Let’s tell Our Lady that we are willing to go there, if she will lead us, if she will take us on as her baggage.

To Go Deeper


[1] “God writes the new name on those places only in our lives where He has erased the pride and self-sufficiency and self-interest. (. . .) The disciple is one who has the new name written all over him; self-interest and pride and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Classic Edition (Discovery House: Kindle Edition), p. 218.

Éowyn | Fearless Virgin Warrior, Virgin Most Faithful

Meditation of the Day

Éowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, is deservedly one of the most popular of Tolkien’s female characters. Proud shield-maiden of a warrior race, languishing in the role of nursemaid to an ailing king, desperate to achieve renown or at least an honourable death in battle—at first glance she seems more at home in the pages of the Nordic sagas than in those of the Christian Bible. Yet the development of her character shows that she is richly imbued with Marian symbolism. This is most evident in the confrontation with the Lord of the Nazgûl, this most powerful of Sauron’s servants, an ancient sorcerer and warrior whose mere presence is enough to make men and beasts flee in blind terror. Yet Éowyn stands undaunted before him, and promises to smite him if he should dare to touch her fallen king and kinsman, Théoden. “Still she did not blench: maiden of the Rohirrim, child of kings, slender but as a steel-blade, fair yet terrible.” It is by her purity as well as her courage that she is able to withstand this maleficent foe.

Although she has disguised her womanhood to ride with the other warriors to the aid of besieged Minas Tirith, it is significant that it is as a woman that she defeats the Black Captain. With astounding defiance, she removes her helm, lets her golden hair flow freely, and declares herself to be a woman. Christian ears hear once again an echo of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, that God would put enmities between the serpent and the woman; she it is who will crush his head (Latin Vulgate version). There was a prophecy about the Witch-king, too, uttered a thousand years earlier by Glorfindel: “not by the hand of man will he fall” (see Judges 4:9). In his arrogance, the Ringwraith takes these words to mean that he is invulnerable to anyone living. How fitting that in the wise designs of providence, this ancient lord of death would be felled by a youthful vessel of life. It is also fitting that she should (unknowingly) avenge her future husband.

All hell trembles before the Virgin of virgins, our Mother. Standing beside her on the battleground, we need fear no evil. She fights for Love, and she promises, “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Prayer

Inviolata, integra, et casta es Maria,
quae es effecta fulgida caeli porta.

O Mater alma Christi carissima,
suscipe pia laudum praeconia.

Te nunc flagitant devota corda et ora,
nostra ut pura pectora sint et corpora.

Tu per precata dulcisona,
nobis concedas veniam per saecula.

O benigna! O Regina! O Maria,
quae sola inviolata permansisti.
Inviolate, spotless and pure art thou,
O Mary Who wast made the radiant gate of the King.

Holy mother of Christ most dear,
receive our devout hymn and praise.

Our hearts and tongues now ask of thee
that our souls and bodies may be pure.

By thy sweet sounding prayers
obtain for us forgiveness forever.

O gracious queen, O Mary,
who alone among women art inviolate.

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Consider how obedience to God and humility do not mean adopting a passive, subservient attitude. They may call us to bold, vigorous resistance to the evil that we see prevailing around us. Like Éowyn, we may need to step outside the conventional roles and societal norms to which we have been relegated.
  • Consider how living out authentic femininity (and masculinity) is in itself a rebellion against the kingdom of darkness.
  • Pray specifically for the virtue of purity, which slays the enemy’s mount with a single blow.

To Go Deeper