December 15, 2008

"I Will Take the Ring" - The Fiat of Frodo

Anne Marie, from The Road Through Middle-Earth, again graciously allowed me to reprint another one of her moving, thought provoking and wonderfully Catholic posts. I encourage you all to follow her blog and read her posts - which really are meditations - whether or not you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings. Since it is rather a lengthy post, I have only put part of it on my blog and included a link to the rest, which can be found on Anne Marie's blog. Please read and enjoy!

"We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10).

Frodo could have said no when the Secret Fire, the Holy Spirit, presented him his vocation. All he had to do was remain silent. The Voice was heard within his own heart and soul. He could have remained still. The Virgin Mary could have said no at the Annunciation. She was alone when the angel visited her. But God had prepared His children well and had molded their souls in such a way all their lives for this one moment, though they knew it not. It was their humility that allowed them to submit themselves to the Will of a Power which in Frodo’s case, he doesn’t even know. His heart and soul recognized their Maker, though, and said yes.

God knows our answer even before we do, but He gives us the free will to choose that answer. "...what you are to say will be given to you when the times comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you" (Mt 10:19-20). Frodo felt very much like "some other will was using his small voice", but it was still his choice to let that other Will speak through him. God has such respect for that that He doesn’t force us to do anything even though He knows it would benefit us and/or others. He allows for abortion and abuse and all sorts of hatred and violence because in the end, even our evil choices, though we may thwart Him in one turn, He will still bring good out of them in another way. He asks for our free consent to His good Will, but He doesn’t coerce us as the Ring bludgeoned Frodo when it could no longer seduce him.

It takes great courage and sacrifice to say yes aloud when we are screaming no inside, to totally surrender ourselves to Someone else, to give up control and say "I am yours; do with me as You will." But it is in that crucible that we discover ourselves to be who we truly are meant to be: the person God has already seen us becoming if we say yes, the one He has loved from all eternity. He knows that we are weak, but He deliberately chooses the weak so His Power can shine through all the more clearly. He has no use for the self-proclaimed strong of the world. Frodo is among the myriad others who would have much rather not been chosen since they did not felt equal to the task God was asking of them. But He Who had fashioned them and knew them better than they knew themselves, knew they were equal, not on their own strength, but on the strength that He would provide with His grace. Both could have said no, indeed Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI begged God not to choose him, as Jesus had prayed to be spared His agony, but both hobbit and man submitted and surrendered their own wills to God’s Will, as did Jesus. Like Mary would say millennia later at the Annunciation, they said, "Fiat" - "Let it be done."

In speaking of this and the choices that confront us all, Cheryl Forbes said in an article for Christianity Today, "We choose to be chosen."(12/19/75, p. 12). The choice Frodo made at the Council, he made again and again with every breath and step he took toward Mordor. Mary said it many times, even at the Cross, watching her Son die in agony. Surrender is not a one-time event that does not need to be repeated, but an ongoing, continuous one that has to be embraced every day, every moment. Under the coercive pressure of the Ring, Frodo said no several times along the way and at the end, as we all do at times, but he said yes many, many more times and we must also.

"I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way." As Peter Kreeft says, these are the "sacramental, operative words that set in motion the only power that can conquer Sauron..." ("Wartime Wisdom: Ten Uncommon Insights About Evil in The Lord of the Rings" in Celebrating Middle-earth, p. 39).

Though Frodo’s heart quails to contemplate the terrible journey before him, he still accepts that it has been "ordained" and "appointed" that he walk the dark Road that is ahead. We are not placed when and where we are by accident. There is a plan and purpose for everything. We may not see it at once or maybe not even until we pass from this life, but there is a reason all happens as it does. God has an intent for all of us and we must be ready when He calls us. We have been given experiences, been molded and shaped a particular way, given specific interests and abilities, set in a particular place and time, along specific roads just so we are where we need to be at the time we need to be. We have the freedom to say no also to all this careful, deliberate planning, such is God’s gift to us, but if we say no, then we will not be performing what we were made to do. "[I]f you do not find a way, no one will," Elrond tells Frodo after Frodo has embraced his vocation. God has created us for a particular purpose and if we don’t do it then that job may not get done, that part of the Song not heard. St. Padre Pio once had a vision of a woman’s son when she came to the priest for confession. He grew greatly agitated and told the woman he had seen her son. When she denied having one, he told her... Read the rest here

1 comment:

  1. It's quite a thought, although keep in mind that Mary's fiat was far greater, because she knew exactly what she was getting into. Frodo really didn't know the half of it.


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