Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tolkien's Birthday Wish

Undoubtedly the title is misleading. I have no idea what J.R.R. Tolkien ever wanted for his birthday. But I do know that among the many things he loved - family, language, fairy tales, middle-earth, his pipe and so on - there was one desire that fulfilled all desires. One love that satisfied all needs for love one wish (perhaps on his birthday, if not every day) that he desired above all. I stumbled across this absolutely stunning quotation a week or so ago while reading a letter Tolkien wrote to his son, Michael, on love and human sexuality (March 1941). I imagine that the Blessed Sacrament referred to in Tolkien's letter would have been a very fine birthday wish indeed. And on this day - the day that marks his 120th birthday - I rejoice that Tolkien rests, asleep in Jesus awaiting the resurrection of the dead and the eternal marriage supper of the Lamb. Happy Birthday, Mr. Tolkien. And thank you for the world you have created in writing that so frequently points me to the same joy and desire (found only in Christ) expressed in your pious wisdom here.

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament.....There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yetby the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

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