Meditation of the Day
Once again, Frodo the Elf-friend will be our model of consecration. In the presence of this newly discovered mother, who graciously offers him and his companions complete safety and abundant consolation after their close brush with death in the Old Forest, he makes the appropriate response: he allows himself to “be converted and become like a little child” (see Matt. 18:2-4). Having only just stepped over the threshold and beheld Goldberry for the first time, he allows her to take him by the hand, and accepts her invitation to “laugh and be merry.” For a child, the world is still a place of new discoveries, of limitless possibilities, of wonder. A child doesn’t imagine that God is tired of creating, or of working marvels such as He worked in the Exodus or in the Gospels. And when bad things happen, a child can simply trust that the good God will make everything right again, in His good time.
In the presence of Goldberry, Eve Unfallen, Consoler of the Afflicted, Frodo allows the extreme stress of being the Ringbearer, hunted by the chief servants of Sauron, to simply ebb away from his mind and body, like standing in a waterfall. His heart is “moved with a joy that he did not understand,” and he spontaneously bursts out in a poem that reworks the words of Tom’s own singing about his beloved. Like the peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), its cousin joy is an unmistakable sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), which in Tolkien’s world translates as the Secret Fire.
As Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel, had to learn (John 3), it is not easy for a person used to adult ways to be born again! It requires letting go of deeply embedded patterns of self-protection and self-reliance. But in the presence of the Mother of God, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, He is poured out so evidently and abundantly that what seemed impossibly arduous before becomes almost effortless. This is the fruit of Marian consecration, and it is a grace we can be looking forward to tasting, even as we begin our journey.
Mary, bearing the guise of Goldberry, asks each of us: “Will you let me take you by the hand, clean you up, tend your wounds, nourish you, hold you in my arms, sing you to sleep? All is well in the Father’s house. All is peace and joy for those who obey my Son. Nothing passes doors or windows save moonlight and starlight and the wind off the hill-top.”
Why I Love Thee Mary (excerpt)
(Last Poem of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face)
Fain would I sing, 0 Mother blest! the reasons why I love thee;
Why e’en to name thy name, with joy, O Mary! fills my heart;
And why the glorious thoughts of thee, in greatness far above me,
Inspire no fear within my soul, so dear and sweet thou art.
Yet, if I were to see thee now, in majesty stupendous,
Surpassing all the crowned saints in highest heaven above,
Scarce could I dream I am thy child, (O truth sublime, tremendous!
For I should think myself to be unworthy of thy love.
The mother, who desires to be her child’s best earthly treasure,
Must ever share its grief with it, must understand its pain.
Queen of my heart! how many years, thy sorrows had no measure;
What bitter tears thine eyes have shed, my worthless heart to gain!
So, musing on thy earthly life, in Scripture’s sacred story,
I dare to look upon thy face, and unto thee draw nigh;
For when I see thee suffering, concealed thy marvelous glory
It is not hard, then, to believe thy little child am I.
When Gabriel came from heaven’s courts, to ask thee to be mother
Of God Who reigns omnipotent to all eternity,
I see thee, Mary! then prefer to that great grace, another,
Through all thy consecrated life a virgin pure to be.
And so I now can comprehend, immaculate white maiden!
Why thou wast dearer unto God than heaven itself could be;
And how thy humble, human frame, with mortal weakness laden,
Could yet contain the Eternal Word, Love’s vast unbounded Sea.
I love thee when I hear thee call thyself the handmaid only
Of God, Whom thou didst win to earth by thy humility;
All powerful it made thee then, above all women, lonely,
And drew, into thy bosom chaste, the Blessed Trinity,
The Holy Spirit, Love Divine, o’ershadowed thee, 0 Mother!
And God the Father’s only Son incarnate was in thee.
How many sinful, sorrowing souls shall dare to call Him Brother!
For He shall be called: Jesus, thy first born, eternally.
And oh! despite my frailties, dear Mary! well thou knowest
That I at times, like thee, possess the Almighty in my breast.
Shall I not tremble at the gift, O God! that Thou bestowest ?
A mother’s treasure is her child’s: I still my fears to rest.
For I, O Mary, am thy child! O Mother dear and tender.
Shall not thy virtues and thy love plead now with God for me?
Then, when the pure white sacred Host, in all its veiled splendor,
Visits my heart, thy spotless Lamb will think He comes to thee.
- Reflect upon what you have to lose (only your foolish pride) and what you stand to gain (the kingdom of Heaven) by forsaking adult ways and putting your hand in Mary’s, with complete confidence and surrender.
- When was the last time you can remember singing for sheer joy? Improvising a song, without caring how “good” it was? Maybe today would be a good day to recapture that spirit of childhood.
- Compose your own version of “Why I Love Thee Mary.” And recite it to her.
- Learn more about St. Thérèse’s Little Way.
To Go Deeper
- Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God.
- St. Augustine of Hippo, Songs of Joy and Jubilation