Meditation of the Day
And Aragorn the King Elessar wedded Arwen Undómiel in the City of the Kings upon the day of Midsummer, and the tale of their long waiting and labours was come to fulfilment. (Bk6 Ch5)
The timing of the royal wedding of Aragorn and Arwen follows the chronology of the end times, as laid out in the final book of the Bible. It is only after the final defeat of evil that the Lamb’s kingdom is fully established and that the earth is ready, is pure enough, for the Bride to come down from heaven to meet Him. As the Catechism teaches, “The kingdom will be fulfilled . . ., not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven” (CCC 677). Although the “marriage of the Lamb” is announced in Rev. 19:6-9, all the superhuman enemies of God (the Beast, the False Prophet, the Devil, Death, and Hades) must first be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10,14—the eruption of Mount Doom fittingly causes rivers of fire to flow), before the Bride descends at last (Rev. 21:2). Like the wedding of Christ and the Church which it symbolizes, the union of Arwen with Aragorn inaugurates a time of pure bliss, unmarred by any further conflict with evil forces.
Undoubtedly, the intensity of the royal couple’s marital bliss will be commensurate with the heavy personal cost that both have borne in the forty years since their betrothal in Cerin Amroth. But the “long waiting and labours” that Aragorn took on to win his bride’s hand, as arduous as they were, even counting his symbolic passage through the realm of the Dead, pale in comparison to what our Saviour underwent out of love for us, His Church, during His Passion. Evoking the “great mystery” of the marital union between God and His people, St. Paul eloquently declares that Christ “loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25b-27).
Our Blessed Lady, assumed into heaven, already participates in the final triumph of her divine Son, the triumphant Lamb. She is the prototype of what will be our common inheritance, when the new heaven and new earth are finally revealed (see 1 Pet. 1:4-5). “In the interim just as the Mother of Jesus, glorified in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected is the world to come, so too does she shine forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, as a sign of sure hope and solace to the people of God during its sojourn on earth” (Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium 68).
PSALM 45 (TLV)
My heart is stirred with a good word.
I speak my verses to the king.
My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men.
Grace pours from your lips.
Therefore God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your splendor and your majesty.
In your majesty ride victoriously,
on behalf of truth, meekness and justice.
Let your right hand display awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp.
Peoples fall beneath you—
into the heart of the king’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
and a scepter of justice is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore, God, your God, anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions.
All your robes have myrrh, aloes, cassia.
From ivory palaces, stringed instruments
make you glad.
Kings’ daughters are among your honored women.
At your right hand stands the queen
in gold of Ophir.
“Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear.
Forget your people and your father’s house.
Then the king will desire your beauty.
Honor him, for he is your lord.
A daughter of Tyre comes with a gift.
The richest people will court your favor.”
All glorious is the king’s daughter within the palace—
her gown is interwoven with gold.
She will be led to the king in embroidered garments.
Her virgins, her companions following her, are coming in to you.
They are led in with joy and gladness—
they enter into the palace of the king.
Your sons will take your fathers’ place.
You will make them princes throughout the land.
I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations.
Therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever.
- Reflect for a few minutes (or longer) upon what it has cost Our Lord to present us to Himself as a pure and holy Bride. What more could He possibly have done to win our love? How our ingratitude and indifference must pain His Heart.
To Go Deeper
- Read Revelation 21, with a good commentary.