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

Lúthien Tinúviel | Lover of Mortal Man

Meditation of the Day

Led by Aragorn, whom Gandalf once described to Frodo as “the greatest traveller and huntsman of this age of the world,” the hobbits have so far evaded the pursuing Black Riders; but as they linger on the summit of Weathertop, the enemy perceives them and they must brace themselves for the onslaught during the night hours. As they huddle nervously around their campfire, Aragorn does his best to “lift up [their] hearts” by chanting a song from the Elder Days, the Tale of Tinúviel. He warns them that it is a fair but sad tale. What is it about his distant ancestor, Lúthien the Nightingale (Tinúviel) that makes her story so inspiring at this perilous moment? At least two features of the story (told more fully in The Silmarillion) come to mind.

The first is the theme of a love that overcomes death itself (see Song of Songs 8:6). Lúthien, an Elfmaiden, and her human lover Beren were renowned for the extreme heroism and daring they showed in infiltrating the realm of Morgoth, the Great Enemy, “of whom Sauron of Mordor was but a servant,” to wrest one of the Silmarils (greatest of jewels) from his crown. They cast him down from his throne. Afterward Lúthien rescued Beren from the dungeons of Sauron. Yet what so enkindles Aragorn’s heart is not her virtue of courage so much as the matchless love that fuelled it: love for a mortal man, like himself. Love that proved stronger than death, because when Beren was slain, Lúthien chose mortality so that she could follow him “beyond the confines of this world.” This is the only kind of love that, in the end, can defeat evil, and redeem the world.

When Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

John 13:1

This holy love is the inheritance that Lúthien passed on to her children, in all their generations. We know it is such love that animates Aragorn, for he already declared to the hobbits in Bree: “I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will” (Bk1 Ch10). We will learn that this love-unto-death also lives in the heart of his beloved, Arwen daughter of Elrond (also descended from Lúthien, through a different line). It is this holy love that every true warrior of light must possess; and Aragorn, the Servant-King, knows how to enkindle it in the hearts of his followers. When Frodo will stand up to the Nazgûl at the Ford of Bruinen, we will hear him call on the names of both Elbereth and Lúthien: “‘By Elbereth and Lúthien the Fair,’ said Frodo with a last effort, lifting up his sword, ‘you shall have neither the Ring nor me!’” (Bk1 Ch12).

The second feature of the Tale of Tinúviel that makes it especially encouraging to weak Hobbits about to face vastly superior and unspeakably evil foes is that her tale reveals the secret wisdom, hidden in creation, unknown to all but the Creator, according to which it is not the wise and powerful who will achieve definitive victory over evil, but the foolish and the weak:

“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.”

1 Cor. 1:27-28

Here is Tolkien’s own explanation of how this theme is exemplified in the story of Beren and Lúthien:

Here we meet, among other things, the first example of the motive (to become dominant in Hobbits) that the great policies of world history, ‘the wheels of the world’, are often turned not by the Lords and Governors, even gods, but by the seemingly unknown and weak – owing to the secret life in creation, and the part unknowable to all wisdom but One, that resides in the intrusions of the Children of God into the Drama. It is Beren the outlawed mortal who succeeds (with the help of Lúthien, a mere maiden even if an elf of royalty) where all the armies and warriors have failed: he penetrates the stronghold of the Enemy and wrests one of the Silmarilli from the Iron Crown. Thus he wins the hand of Lúthien and the first marriage of mortal and immortal is achieved.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 131 to Milton Waldman (1951)

The Blessed Virgin is the creature who most perfectly embodies both love-unto-death and the lowliness that is necessary to overcome evil, in our fallen world. It is she, the “Woman” (John 19:26; 2:4), who stands with her Son at the Cross, when virtually all His disciples have fled; and it is she who waits in silent hope for the dawn of the Resurrection, when all others are lost to grief and despair. What better Advocate can we poor mortals find, when we are burdened with unbearable trials and distress?

“By her maternal charity, Mary cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy fatherland. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked by the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, and Mediatrix.”

Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution of the Church Lumen gentium, no. 62

Mary of Nazareth, our Lúthien, is the lowly maiden chosen out of all the women in history to bear the world’s salvation. Her soul magnifies the God who “puts down the mighty from their thrones and lifts up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). To imitate her lowliness is to be assured of victory, no matter what foes are arrayed against us.

Prayer

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo gloriosa et benedicta. Amen.

We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.  (Partial Indulgence)

Ortírielyanna (Tolkien’s Translation into Quenya)

Musical Selection

Action Points

  • Both Mary’s maternal love for her children and her humility are clearly manifested in the way she addresses the visionaries to whom she has appeared down through the centuries. What tender sensitivity and gentleness she shows to them! For example, read her affectionate words to St. Juan Diego or her courteous request to St. Bernadette in the third apparition. (The visionaries Our Lady has chosen are such luminous icons of her, aren’t they?)
  • What would a mother not do to rescue her child from danger? What would Mary not do to rescue you? What has she already done in your life, through her unceasing intercession? Be sure to thank her.

To Go Deeper