Brian’s Reflection: Monday, September 22, 2008
Elrond: And yet to have come so far, still bearing the Ring,
the hobbit has shown extraordinary resilience to its evil.
Gandalf: It is a burden he should never have had to bear.
We can ask no more of Frodo.
Frodo: I will take the Ring to Mordor. Though-- I do not know the way.
- Frodo Baggins, hobbit, on his “birthday”
Bilbo Baggins, Frodo’s uncle, found (yah, “found” ….. right!) the Ring of Power. You have not read The Fellowship of then Ring”? Get with it folks! This is a story at the absolute heart of understanding Life at its mythic reality (at least from the “Western” point of view.) Read it, read it ….. and really think about it!
“Baggins” ….. not a coincidence, I think. One thinks immediately of ”baggage” ….. all the stuff that we human beings carry around as a seemingly integral part of being Human. And at the Heart? The Ring. Ah, the Ring. Forged by Sauron, the Dark Lord. Meant to be the Ring that grants ultimate power over human nature, over human beings. A power that allows Sauron to impose his control over the natural, Divine-given instincts of human beings. The power that gives Evil power over Love.
No. It is not so. Such is the message of "The Lord of the Rings”. Frodo and his faithful companion and faithful friend Samwise Gangee (remember Jesus saying "I no longer call you servants, I now call you friends”) will, through seemingly insurmountable odds, carry the Ring of Power to the heart of its forging and cast it into the Fire, there to be destroyed, along with its power to control the essential nature of all beings ….. men, elves, dwarves, hobbits.
Tolkien, the author, played games. Claimed that there was no symbolic (i.e., “spiritual”) meaning to his work. Rubbish! An absolute abrogation of the mystic’s calling - unless every mystic is an unconscious fool. Which I doubt. We human beings despair of our weakness. I think it part of human nature to think so. Some would say that human beings are weak ….. I disagree; we show extraordinary resilience to evil ….. or we can do. To resist evil, which is always at work within us because by nature we are created to make our choices, is essential to being Human - our choices define our Essence, so said Professor Dumbledore to Harry Potter.
The great Elf Elrond says of Frodo, the symbolic Biblical New Adam, “to have come so far / bearing the Ring! Oh sisters and brothers, we have come so far! By vision, by nature, by Grace and by capture by the Spirit of Life! Sin and Evil beset us on every side. Temptation beckons ….. yet not always do we succumb. Surrounded by Friends who bolster our weaknesses, we resist. We choose Compassion, Justice, and we evolve towards the Divine heart of Being. The journey may be halting ….. but it cannot be defeated.
Be of good cheer. If we wish to be true to who we truly are, carry the Ring to Mordor. We shall succeed. We have help.