I’m re-reading Lord of the Rings and have just finished the first book. Why is this such a great masterpiece? Not only because Tolkien spent his whole life writing and re-writing until it was perfect, but because of its deeply Catholic themes, and the main theme throughout the whole book is the triumph of the little one. In a few weeks I’ll have an article in National Catholic Register comparing Frodo to St Therese who also preached the Little Way, but in the meantime it strikes me that Lord of the Rings is so successful and will endure as a great work of literature because, at heart, it shows the gospel triumph of the little one.
This is so intensely Catholic because, despite all the grandeur and glory that is Rome, the Catholic church still essentially celebrates the triumph of the common man, the glory of the ordinary and the victory of the loser. Christ the Carpenter calls Peter the Fisherman and together they conquer Rome. This is the message of the little man from Argentina who is now the successor of Peter. This is why he goes to the poor and ministers to the weak, because in them he sees history’s winners. This is why John Paul the Great sided with the oppressed and the downtrodden and saw them triumph over Communism.
This is why empires come and go, but the Catholic church remains–because they put their stock in the Frodos of the world–the little people who are faithful even if they are not successful and are successful because they are faithful. More to follow on this theme because I must board a flight…stay tuned.
UPDATED: Having arrived at EWTN I was delighted to find myself staying in the same house with Jim Morlina–director of War of the Vendee–a delightful film highlighting the genocide of faithful Catholics in France after the bloody revolution. More on the film and the work of Navis Films later–but in the meantime read Joseph Pearce’s review of the film here: