Friday, September 08, 2006

Guess Who? "I'm sure you'd agree that it's one of the most spiritually powerful works of the twentieth century, and I think one has to be a Catholic to really appreciate it. It's a living hymn to mercy, humility and the power of Divine Providence. It isn't a fantasy epic but an epic of virtue." - Carmelite Sister, Northeastern USA Hmm.... curious? In 1997, voters in a BBC poll named it the greatest book of the 20th century. The academics and the literati were furious. Another poll was taken, and then another. They all pointed to the same book. In 1999, customers chose it to be the greatest book of the millennium. PS - a millennium equals 1000 years. It's "The Lord of the Rings." How astounding! How ridiculous! Isn't that the book about hobbits, wizards, elves and dwarves written by an obscure English professor in the days before MTV? What has that got to do with us? Have we lost our minds? I would wager that the millions who've read the book have found their souls. In some powerful and perhaps subconscious way, a great void in the human heart, scraped clean by the reductionism of the modern world view, has been filled again with wonder, mystery and true romance. I am huge lover of the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. HUGE! Now I could have said I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. But today, I think that makes people default to Peter Jackson's film trilogy. The movies were very good, don't get me wrong, especially the first one. But the book is better. Isn't the book always better? Isn't it always more memorable when the light of an author's words filters through the prism of your mind first? The first time I read the Silmarillion, which recounts Tolkien's creation myth, I thought I had found GOLD. It was like finally naming a melody I had been hearing all my life, just on the tip of my tongue, glimmering on the horizon, sweet and unreachable. Now it was in my hands and had a name: Ainulindalë I love Tolkien because his stories are sacramental. They have the fragrance of eternity in them. They teach us the ancient lessons we once knew and have forgotten. Now, it's almost September 22, and you know what that means! It's time to start reading the Lord of the Rings... again!! If you know why this date is key, then you're on the trip (wanna post a guess?) Visit I hope to share with you some of these lessons as I journey through Middle Earth again. So if you have a copy, consider taking the journey... and your thoughts and posts are always welcome at the Prancing Pony, a.k.a.
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