Model of Consecration: Gimli

Meditation of the Day

Galadriel’s unexpected gesture of compassion to Gimli the Dwarf, as relatively minor as it may appear at first, has profound and transformative consequences for the remainder of his life.[1] Not only does he become an Elf-friend, and develop a strong personal bond with Legolas thereafter, but he becomes devoted to Galadriel herself in a way that goes far beyond admiration; it can only properly be compared to the courtly love that a medieval knight would exhibit to a lady of high standing (typically, the wife of his liege lord).[2] Later, in the land of Rohan (Bk3 Ch2), upon encountering Éomer and being suspected of being a “net-weaver and sorcerer” for having the favour of the Lady of the Golden Wood, Gimli is ready to fight and die on the spot, in defence of her honour. It appears that Galadriel, for her part, also understands him as forever devoted to her service: in her message to him through Gandalf the White, she dubs him “Lock-bearer,” calls herself “his Lady,” and brings him surpassing joy with the consoling words, “Wherever thou goest my thought goes with thee” (Bk3 Ch5; notice the use of archaic personal pronouns here, which is likely a nod to the medieval ethos).[3]

All this can easily be transposed to the living out of consecration to Our Lady. If we place ourselves humbly, sincerely at her service, and seek to do great deeds solely for her honour, with no thought of self-interest, we can be sure that she will respond with special protection and marks of favour toward us. If, in addition, we endure hardship and incur contempt (as Gimli initially did for his short and stocky stature), she will be even more ready to encourage us. She is the most gracious Queen we could ever desire to serve.

Prayer

Ave Augustissima, Regina pacis, sanctissima Mater Dei, per Sacratissimum Cor Jesu Filii tui Principis Pacis, fac ut quiescat ira ipsius et regnet super nos in pace. Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo quemquam tua petentem suffragia esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia ad te venio. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia, et exaudi, O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.Hail, thou that art most Venerable, Queen of Peace, most holy Mother of God; through the Sacred Heart of Jesus thy Son, the Prince of Peace, cause His anger to cease from us, that so He may reign over us in peace. Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who sought thy prayers was forsaken by God. Inspired with this confidence, I come unto thee. Despise not my petitions, O Mother of the Incarnate Word; but in thy loving kindness hear and answer me, O merciful, O kind, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Pick three things (or more!), great or small, that you can do solely for Mary’s honour.
  • Reflect on some simple ways to spread devotion to the Immaculate.

To Go Deeper


[1] And on his afterlife: we learn at the end of Appendices A and B that alone of all Dwarvenkind, Gimli was granted the unheard-of privilege of sailing to the Undying Lands with his friend Legolas. “It is said that Gimli went also out of desire to see again the beauty of Galadriel; and it may be that she, being mighty among the Eldar, obtained this grace for him” (Appendix A). In Letter 154 to Naomi Mitchison, Tolkien would write in 1954 that Gimli was a “unique exception (. . .) as friend of Legolas and ‘servant’ of Galadriel.”

[2] Gimli “devotes himself to Galadriel in much the way a medieval knight devotes himself to his lady (an image of courtly dedication which in its highest form is transferred to the Lady, to Mary, the mother of Christ).” Marjorie Burns, Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, p. 152; cited in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion, 2d ed. (London, U.K.: HarperCollins, 2014), p. 340.

[3] We may even surmise that Gimli’s lifelong celibacy is a sign of his ongoing sense of consecration, even after the War of the Ring.

Galadriel | Mother of All Peoples

This post is dedicated to the memory of all victims of racial discrimination, past and present.

Empress of the Americas, pray for us!

Meditation of the Day

Scene 1: Moria

Journeys through the underworld are an archetypal trope of mythical storytelling across cultures, but few narratives in classical mythology can rival “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm” for sheer dramatic intensity. While we do not encounter any direct Marian symbolism in this chapter, we do witness a spectacular example of what Our Lady most desires to produce in her sons and daughters: the cruciform, self-sacrificial love of her Son, represented here by the Grey Pilgrim. Gandalf embraces his downfall with quiet acceptance; he knows that there is no other way to save his companions except to go down with the Balrog. And so he makes his last stand on the bridge, alone facing the Darkness. We witness his unforgettably bold and defiant declaration of his inner identity: “‘I am a servant of the Secret Fire [the Holy Spirit], wielder of the flame of Anor [the Sun]. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn [Hell]. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass’” (Bk2 Ch5). Would that all God’s servants had such a crystal clear perception of their identity in Christ! With Mary’s help, we can acquire it; and then we need never quail when the powers of darkness force a showdown. Even if they should drag us down into the Pit with them, we can trust in the power of God to raise us up to life again.

Scene 2: Lothlórien

After their narrow escape from the East Gate of Moria, the survivors are understandably overwhelmed by the trauma of losing their beloved leader. To be bereft of his wisdom and power, so soon in their quest, calls everything into question, and breeds despair. If the greatest among them has already fallen, how can the rest possibly succeed? “What hope have we without you?” cries Aragorn as they grieve. This crisis of hope tests the resolve and the character of every member of the Fellowship. They are vulnerable to temptation. Although Aragorn steps into the gap and takes up the mantle of leadership, the future of their company is very much in jeopardy.

It is in this precarious state that they enter the Golden Wood, a land protected by powerful enchantment, where time elapses differently than in the rest of the world. The Lady of this land is the most unmistakably Marian character in the entire epic: Galadriel, daughter of Finarfin, one of the most powerful Elves ever to have graced Middle-earth. Her realm would seem to be the safest place for the Fellowship to recover from the demise of Gandalf. Instead, however, they are met with suspicion—a tragic consequence of the disunity introduced by evil among the noblest and wisest of peoples. Even when their identities are disclosed, and the high rank of Aragorn and Legolas alone should have gained them unrestricted acceptance, the ugly reality of racial prejudice makes their Silvan-elf escort demand that Gimli the Dwarf be blindfolded, and “guarded” by Aragorn and Legolas.

Upon learning of the encounter with the Balrog in Moria, even Celeborn, Galadriel’s husband, begins to regret having allowed the party to enter his land, and does not hesitate to call into question Gandalf’s wisdom. Yet this sets the scene for Galadriel to manifest the depths of her own wisdom, and the universality of her compassion. She defends Gimli’s desire to see the halls of his fathers, and uses place names in Khuzdul, the Dwarves’ secret (and Semitic-sounding) language. “And the Dwarf, hearing the names given in his own ancient tongue, looked up and met her eyes; and it seemed to him that he looked suddenly into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding. Wonder came into his face, and then he smiled in answer” (Bk2 Ch7). Instantly, the wall which ancestral racial hatred erected comes tumbling down—much like the wall between Jews and Gentiles that Saint Paul mentions as having been overcome by the death of Christ (Eph. 2:14). In Galadriel, we are given a vision of Mary as the Mother of All Peoples, who fulfills the destiny of Zion announced in Psalm 87.

Christ’s command to love everyone without distinction, even one’s enemies, to imitate God Himself who “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good” (Matt. 5:45), is undoubtedly one of the most difficult teachings in the Gospel. Truly, “with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Experiencing the universal compassion of Mary, Mother of All Peoples, allows us to look into the heart of an enemy and see a fellow human being, a brother or sister.

Prayer

i. Most Holy Virgin, I venerate thee with my whole heart above all angels and saints in Paradise, as the Daughter of the Eternal Father, and I consecrate to thee my soul with all its powers.
Hail Mary . . .

ii. Most holy Virgin, I venerate thee with my whole heart above all angels and saints in Paradise, as the Mother of the Only-begotten Son, and I consecrate to thee my body with all its senses.
Hail Mary . . .

iii. Most Holy Virgin, I venerate thee with my whole heart above all angels and saints in Paradise, as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost, and I consecrate to thee my heart and all its affections, praying thee to obtain for me from the ever-blessed Trinity all that is necessary for my salvation.
Hail Mary . . .

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • If there are specific persons or groups of persons whom I have placed on the other side of a dividing wall of suspicion or enmity, I can beg Our Blessed Lady, Mother of All Peoples, this day to look upon them with her eyes, since they too are her children.
  • Contemplate the image miraculously imprinted upon St. Juan Diego’s tilma, of the Virgin Mother as a mestiza, a woman of mixed European and Aztec descent; acclaim her as a sign of hope for healing and reconciliation among “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” (Rev. 7:9).

To Go Deeper