Elbereth | Morning Star

Meditation of the Day

Just as Frodo was filled with renewed courage by wielding the Phial and calling on the name of Galadriel, his faithful servant Sam, by doing the same, is able to shake off the terror of Shelob and the certainty of death, while defending his fallen master. He, too, yields to the gift of inspired speech, and cries out in the words of the Elven-hymn to Elbereth. In an instant his battle-fury is rekindled. It would not be an exaggeration to understand the Star-glass and Galadriel’s name as sacramentals (see CCC 1667), which impart grace according to the disposition of the person who makes use of them:

As if his indomitable spirit had set its potency in motion, the glass blazed suddenly like a white torch in his hand. It flamed like a star that leaping from the firmament sears the dark air with intolerable light. No such terror out of heaven had ever burned in Shelob’s face before. The beams of it entered into her wounded head and scored it with unbearable pain, and the dreadful infection of light spread from eye to eye. (Bk4 Ch10)

Phial-Galadriel-Elbereth: this sacramental chain of representation, from the most tangible and earthly to the most incorporeal and celestial, brings supernatural power to bear at exactly the moment needed to bring about the defeat of evil. Divine wrath has been meted out—a foretaste of the final judgement. By his act of reverential faith, Sam the lowly gardener is suddenly transformed into a holy warrior, made capable of performing impossible deeds of valour. Without this Marian intervention, both he and Frodo would have perished and their Quest would have ended in utter disaster. But they are both “of the seed of the woman” (see Rev. 12:17), through whom she defeats the ancient serpent again and again. She will do the same through us.


Ave maris stella,
Dei Mater alma,
Atque semper Virgo,
Felix cœli porta.

Sumens illud Ave
Gabrielis ore,
Funda nos in pace,
Mutans Evæ nomen.

Solve vincla reis,
Profer lumen cæcis,
Mala nostra pelle,
Bona cuncta posce.

Monstra te esse matrem,
Sumat per te preces,
Qui pro nobis natus,
Tulit esse tuus.

Virgo singularis,
Inter omnes mitis,
Nos culpis solutos,
Mites fac et castos.

Vitam præsta puram,
Iter para tutum,
Ut videntes Jesum
Semper collætemur.

Sit laus Deo Patri,
Summo Christo decus,
Spiritui Sancto,
Tribus honor unus. Amen.
Hail, star of the sea,
bountiful mother of God
and ever Virgin,
happy gate of heaven.

Taking that Ave
from the mouth of Gabriel,
preserve us in peace,
giving Eve a new name.

Loose the chains of the bound,
bring light to the blind,
drive out our ills,
invoke all things good.

Show thyself to be a mother,
may he who was born for us
receive our prayers
through thee.

Singular virgin,
more gentle than all,
absolve us from sin and
make us gentle and pure.

Grant us a pure life,
prepare a safe way,
that in seeing Jesus
we may rejoice for ever.

Praise be to God the Father,
glory to Christ on high,
and with the Holy Spirit
honour to the three in one. Amen.

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Learn more about the three most prominent Marian sacramentals: the Holy Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Miraculous Medal.

To Go Deeper


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