Lord of the Rings
Continuing my movie insights, the next movie I want to look at is The Lord of the Rings. Now, finding the religious significance of this series is a bit of a cheat. J.R.R Tolkein was a devout Catholic and LOTR is chalked full of religious symbolism and philosophy. Hopefully, I can find some fresh ground to tie to Rosary prayer.
The scene I am going to focus on in this article comes in The Fellowship of the Ring. The fellowship is deep in Moria and they have already encountered multiple challenges. Frodo, the ring bearer, laments that he wishes the ring never came to him and that none of these challenges ever happened. Gandolf, the wise wizard, answers that we don’t get to choose our circumstances; we only have to decide what to do with the time given.
The Grass is Not Greener on the Other Side
We often act like Frodo and lament our circumstances and wish they were different. Maybe our family life is difficult with our spouse, kids, parents, or siblings. Maybe we have health or financial issues. Perhaps our work situation is unpleasant, non-existent, or stressful. We can all look at parts of our lives and wish they were different.
This “grass is greener on the other side” mentality is a bit misleading. Often, we wish for a time or a world that has never really existed. Has there ever been a “good time” on earth? Most of human history has been a struggle to survive and find meaning. People suffered before Jesus came into the world, during his earthly ministry, and afterward. Jesus didn’t eliminate pain and suffering, wars, famines, and difficulty. He did not usher in good times.
Jesus gave us a way of deciding what to do in the narrow band of human history we happen to live through. He taught us how to love God and love each other. He showed us God’s Will and His grace. The Catholic Church has led humanity throughout history on what to do with the time given to us. It hasn’t changed whether you were a surf in medieval Europe, a pilgrim settling in North America, an English baker experiencing a German bombing in WWII, or an Uber driver today.
Think of the Third Luminous Mystery — The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus’ Call to Conversion. This mystery puts forth the question, whose kingdom will you live for in the time given to you? Will it be the Kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of this world? Jesus proclaimed God’s kingdom and taught us how to live for it in his ministry and now through the Church. But it’s up to us to answer that call and choose to convert our earthly ways to God’s heavenly ones.
Consistency of Catholic Teaching
You have to love the consistency in the teaching of the Church. As I said earlier, core Catholic teachings have remained the same for thousands of years. That is very encouraging knowing that they have been tested in just about any situation we may find ourselves in whether that be times of war, peace, abundance, or famine. We’re not left to try to figure things out on our own. That should bring us comfort that we walk a well-trodden path when we decide to live for God’s kingdom.
When you pray, ask yourself what you’re going to do with the time given to you. If you don’t know, ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to help show you the path. We have plenty of resources to help us live meaningfully — the Bible, the Catechism, countless books, apps, and podcasts, etc. We have the wisdom of the greatest Catholic thinkers who ever lived. They will show us the way in the time God provides us.