Today’s post is a throwback to last year’s series Finding God in Children’s Literature. J. R. R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is not children’s literature, per se, but is suitable for reading aloud with the entire family. I’ve been thinking about a passage from The Fellowship of the Ring lately, and Sunday’s reading on Abraham fits perfectly with it.
If your mind wanders to books during Mass, let it be to great literature that can teach you lessons about the spiritual life! (Yes, I admit I was thinking about Frodo at Church.)
Traveling to an unknown land
“The LORD said to Abram: ‘Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you'” (Genesis 12:1). To fully understand the import of this verse, we must look to the New Testament.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go (Hebrews 11:8).
Abraham followed God down a dark path. He did not know what his destination was, but he trusted God to lead him to a good place.
The journey to Mordor
In The Fellowship of the Ring, the great elf lord Elrond holds a council of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and men. Their goal is to decide what to do with the one Ring the hobbits have brought to Rivendell. They agree to destroy it in the volcano Mt. Doom in Mordor. But who shall take it there? Who can be trusted with it? Who dares to volunteer?
Frodo Baggins, lowly hobbit of the Shire, has carried the Ring to Rivendell. He knows the dangers that beset ring bearers. He watches and listens at the council, hoping a solution that excludes him will reveal itself. At last he realizes his fate.
“I will take the Ring [to Mordor],” he says, “though I do not know the way.”
Our journey down the narrow way
We too are on a journey. God points us down the road we must travel, then seems, like Gandalf, to abandon us. We travel in darkness. We do not know what lies ahead.
Can we trust God to keep us safe on an unknown road? Can we trust Him to bring us to our heavenly destination?
Snares and sorrows lie in our path. Have we the courage to meet them? Dare we take the first steps?
No one promised Frodo success. But God did make a promise to Abraham: “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chalde′ans, to give you this land to possess” (Genesis 15:7). God promised us an inheritance. The Promised Land is Heaven.
God journeys with us
But God did not stop there. He promised Abraham something greater than possession of the Promised Land.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you (Genesis 17:7).
In St. Therese: Her Family, Her God, Her Message, Fr. Bernard Bro sees a connection between Abraham and St. Therese. They both learned, through trials of faith, to value God’s presence above His promises. The key to our relationship with God is not focusing on a future reward. Rather, we focus on God’s companionship wherever we find ourselves today.
God Himself is a member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
“And that,” to quote Gandalf, “is a comforting thought.”
Share with us: Are you struggling to believe that God is with you today? How do you remind yourself of His presence?