This linkup is hosted by Micaela on California to Korea, who I am most. definitely not. jealous. of. becauseshelivesinKoreawithfourbeautifulchildrenandobviouslyawesomehusband.
Really Micaela, only three? Here goes. c;
-- 1 --
Remember when things had meaning? When stepping on a crack meant certain doom, if not for your mother's back, then for some unspoken balance precariously and inexplicably resting on your tiny six-year-old shoulders? When the colored lights on the Christmas tree indicated a fairy city and your words had so much meaning that you would close your eyes and unwish the mean thing you said about your sister, just in case someone somewhere was listening and it became true?
Catholics live in that world. The world of ritual, even of "superstition." It is a world where things retain their meaning, where even the smallest gesture has significance. We cross ourselves to keep devils away, invoke saints' names to find lost objects, know that the sound of bells indicate the presence of kings and kneel accordingly, believe that a bit of bread and swig of wine are the most powerful and significant material things on the face of the planet, and would die protecting Them.
A Catholic is a man, woman, or child who lives a fairy tale. (See reason #3.)
-- 2 --
Anyone who knows me for two seconds knows this about me. My patron saint, my spiritual father, my favorite author.
-- 3 --
(See reason #1.)
Not an understatement to say that Middle Earth changed my life as I knew it. A lonely, bookish adolescent, I had this . . . feeling . . . about the world around me, a feeling I couldn't express, or if I could, was afraid to be found alone in my conviction, rejected, ridiculed, told to "grow up." Que The Hobbit and, after that, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, and at last I felt the light bulb click, the moment when my faith and my fancy collided and I realized they were one and the same and that our God is Fearful and Beautiful and Alive and to exist is wonderful, wonderful.
I'll let Jessica explain it:
Looking back into my childhood, there are glints - like shining stones on a path - of Faerie. I've washed my face in the dew of the first May morning, discovered a hidden woodland stream, and played with old coins of unknown origin. These precious moments notwithstanding, I had little overt fantasy in my upbringing, and I didn't truly find Faerie until I found The Lord of the Rings.
To say that a book changed one's life is banal, but there it is: Lord of the Rings changed my life.
Tolkien enchanted me entirely. I could see things now, simple things, and see their magic. Wax candles, the stars, woolen blankets, the campus lawn: all became sacred. They were holy in their ordinariness. I was overcome.
To my mind, the most important thing that Tolkien's writing imparted to my views is what C.S. Lewis calls the True myth. As one of those Jesus types, I found myself at last face to face with the fact that I am living the true myth, and that all of the sacredness I first saw is mine to delight in, to keep forever, in a way. My favorite passage in the whole series is the exchange between Aragorn and one of Eomer's riders. The rider scoffs at the notion of halflings, and asks, "Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?"
Aragorn replies: "Not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day."
These stories have shaped me so much, and have given birth to much that is good in my life. . .
BAM! Aragorn says it all. (Emphasis mine.)
And you know what? The more Catholic-Tolkien fans I connect with, the more convinced I am that this is not an isolated experience. More proof that the One Who is Truth and Beauty is at the center of Middle Earth, as in all created things that are good and beautiful.
For more reasons it's so cool to be Catholic, check out the link to an old 7 Quick Takes Friday post.