Meditation of the Day
In the Germanic Heroic Age, which provided one of the major streams of influence upon Tolkien’s legendarium, the regal virtue par excellence was generosity. A great king or queen must be a great gift-giver. Galadriel shows herself to be a true queen by the high cost and custom design of the parting gifts she bestows on the eight remaining members of the Fellowship (jewelled sheath, belts of gold and silver, longbow). She also reveals her motherly heart in the kindness and simplicity of the gift to Sam the gardener. Her prophetic spirit is on display in the explanation she gives about the gifts’ future usefulness.
Much like Christ, who purposely refuses the Canaanite woman’s prayer in order to shine a spotlight on the quality of her humble faith (Matt. 15:21-28), Galadriel has chosen not to prepare a gift for Gimli, in order to showcase the purity of his character and overturn any remaining racial stereotypes about the avarice of Dwarves. He declares that it is enough for him to have seen her, and heard her words; he values her person above any object she might have chosen to bestow. So when she presses him to name something, he begs for a strand of her hair—again confirming that it is the personal connection with her that he treasures above all else. She not only responds with magnanimity to his bold request, but adds to the gift a prophecy about the abundant wealth he will enjoy, precisely because he is free of covetousness: “Your hands shall flow with gold, and yet over you gold shall have no dominion” (see Mark 10:30).
The Queen’s gift to Frodo is both a practical help for his coming journey into dark places and a way of honouring his choice to look in her Mirror. The phial is essentially a portable version of the Mirror, a tangible reminder that no darkness can extinguish the Light of the world, symbolized by Eärendil’s star (the evening star, Venus). This star-glass is not a weapon, but without it, even the best weapons would have proven useless in the fight against Shelob. Besides the limited foresight she acknowledges herself to possess, Galadriel’s prophetic spirit allows her to be an instrument in the hands of the Higher Power that is directing the course of events to assure final victory over evil.
Like Galadriel, Mary the Mother of God is a great Queen and gift-giver. In fact, she is recognized in Catholic doctrine and piety as the Mediatrix of all graces, the one through whom God the Blessed Trinity desires to dispense all His gifts, merited for us by her Son, to the human race. Her hands flow with lavish gifts, perfectly proportioned to our individual needs, talents, vocation, and desires. We honour her by expecting to receive rich and noble gifts from her; we grieve her heart by expecting little.
|Salve regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exules filii Hevae; ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eja ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte; et Jesum benedictum fructum ventris tui nobis post hoc exilium ostende, O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.|
V. Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata.
R. Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.
V. Benedictus Deus in sanctis suis.
|Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope, all hail! To thee we cry, poor banished sons of Eve; to thee we send up our sighs, weeping and mourning in this vale of tears. Turn, then most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus, O merciful, O kind, O sweet Virgin Mary. |
V. Make me worthy to praise Thee, Holy Virgin.
R. Give me strength against thine enemies.
V. Blessed be God in His saints.
- Let’s express trust in the gifts we have already received from our Queen Mother: that they will be exactly proportioned to our needs and desires.
- Let us make requests to our Mother of Mercy that are bold and pure, like Gimli’s. Let us show her that we value our bond with her above all the gold of the earth.
To Go Deeper
- St. Peter Canisius, “The Queen Stands at Your Right Hand, Adorned in a Vesture of Gold“
- Dr. Brant Pitre, “The Queen Mother“
- “Why Was Galadriel’s Gift to Gimli So Important?“