Meditation of the Day
Although he has in all earnestness pledged his service to the Lord of the Mark, Meriadoc finds himself, like the Lady Éowyn, ordered to remain behind when the Riders answer the summons of the war-beacons. Of what use could an untrained halfling possibly be in mounted combat? While all his friends (even Pippin) have found their way to engage the enemy in this apocalyptic War, Merry is condemned to sit on the sidelines. But he is not invisible to the divine providence that is guiding all things to their fulfillment. His lowliness is in fact his greatest asset. He is rescued from his frustration and dejection by another, who has also been told to “keep the home fires burning” while the men find glory and death on the battlefields of Gondor. As “small, unwanted, and lonely” as he might feel, he willingly endures the humiliation of being treated as Dernhelm’s baggage, for a chance at least to do some good, somehow. He doesn’t know what use he might be; all he knows is that he must follow the King, to the end. What an icon of pure discipleship for us!
Both Éowyn and Merry look upon Théoden as a father, and it is armed with this love that they are able to overcome the terror that would have rendered the most skilled warrior helpless. Judged unworthy by men to even join the host of the Rohirrim, they prove themselves worthy of fulfilling the ancient prophecy, and bringing to an end the sorcery that binds the Ringwraith to his physical form.
The stone which the builders rejected / Has become the chief cornerstone. / This was the Lord’s doing; / It is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118:22-23)
At the decisive moment, Merry is filled with admiration for Éowyn’s more-than-manly courage: “She should not die, so fair, so desperate! At least she should not die alone, unaided.” Giving no thought to himself, seeking only to help her, he crawls forward to strike the foe. No knight of the Mark could have asked for a more valiant squire.
In the traditional form of consecration crafted by St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, we pledge to become Mary’s property, her “slaves.” Her baggage, just like Merry. Her little squires, overlooked by the evil one as “no more than a worm in the mud,” because his malicious attention will be entirely fixed on her. But this diversion, effected by our consecration, is precisely what will allow us to deliver the blow that will free us and those we love from the enemy’s tyranny, once and for all.
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
“Talk no more so very proudly;
Let no arrogance come from your mouth,
For the Lord is the God of knowledge;
And by Him actions are weighed.
“The bows of the mighty men are broken,
And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
Even the barren has borne seven,
And she who has many children has become feeble.
“The Lord kills and makes alive;
He brings down to the grave and brings up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
He brings low and lifts up.
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the beggar from the ash heap,
To set them among princes
And make them inherit the throne of glory.
“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He has set the world upon them.
He will guard the feet of His saints,
But the wicked shall be silent in darkness.
“For by strength no man shall prevail.
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces;
From heaven He will thunder against them.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth.
“He will give strength to His king,
And exalt the horn of His anointed.”
(1 Samuel 2:1-10 NKJV)
- Like Merry, we will rise to our true greatness when we have finally broken free from the shackles of the ego and are thinking the least about our selves. Let’s tell Our Lady that we are willing to go there, if she will lead us, if she will take us on as her baggage.
To Go Deeper
- Stephen C. Winter, “The Story of Meriadoc Brandybuck. Or The Necessity of Getting Out of Your Depth“
- Stephen C. Winter, “The Fall and Rise of Meriadoc Brandybuck and the Battle of Bywater“