Sunday, April 20, 2014

5 similarities between Easter Liturgy and Eagle's song after the Fall of Sauron

Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine Mysteries rejoice; and let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered. Let our mother the Church also rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and let this temple resound with the loud acclamations of the people. 
This is similar to the song of the great Eagle announcing the Fall of Sauron and the Return of King Aragorn to Gondor and in all the lands of the West:
Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down. 
Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of the Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hat passed through,
and he is victorious. 
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life. 
And the Tree that has withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed. 
Sing all ye people!  
LOTR p. 963.
Let's enumerate the similarities between the two texts:

1. Rejoice
  • "Let the angelic choirs of Heaven now rejoice; let the divine Mysteries rejoice...Let the earth also rejoice... Let our mother the Church also rejoice."  Easter is a time for rejoicing.
  • "Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of the Guard...Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West."  The guards defend the Steward and the burial places of kings.  Beregond, one of the guards of the Tower, killed two of the guards in the effort to save Faramir who was burning in fever and who Denethor his father wishes to burn in a pyre with him (LOTR p. 855).  It is in the Tower that Denethor used the palantir to see the events in the outside world, enabling him to know much, in order to prepare Gondor against war: "Though the Stewards deemed that it was a secret kept only by themselves, long ago I guessed that here in the White Tower, one at least of the Seven Seeing Stones was preserved.  In the days of his wisdom Denethor would not presume to use it to challenge Sauron, knowing the limits of his own strength.  But his wisdom failed; and I fear that as the periol of his realm grew he looked in the Stone and was deceived: far too often, I guess, since Boromir departed.  He was too great to be subdued to the will of the Dark Power, he saw nonetheless only those things which that Power permitted him to see. The knowledge which he obtained was, doubtless, often of service to him; yet the vision of the great might of Mordor that ws shown to him fed the despair of his heart until it overthrew his mind." (LOTR p. 856)
2. Kingdom of Darkness is Destroyed
  • "Let the earth also rejoice, made radiant by such splendor; and, enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King, let it know that the darkness of the whole world is scattered."
  • "Realm of Sauron is ended for ever, and the Dark Tower is thrown down... the Black Gate is broken." Tolkien describes the fall of the Dark Tower vividly when the One Ring fell with Gollum into into the Fires of Mount Doom: "Towers fell and mountains slid: walls crumbled and melted, crashing down; vast spires of smoke and spouting steams went billowing up, up, until they toppled like an overwhelming wave, and its wild crest curled and came foaming down upon the land. And then at last over the miles between there came a rumble, rising to a deafening crash and roar; the earth shook, the plain heaved and cracked, and Orodruin reeled.  Fire belched from its riven summit.  The skies burst into thunder seared with lightning.  Down like lashing whips fell a torrent of black rain.  And into the heart of the storm, with a cry that pierced  all other sounds, tearing the clouds asunder, the Nazgul came, shooting like flaming bolts, as caught in the fiery ruin of hill and sky they crackled, withered, and went out." (LOTR p. 947)
3. Return of the King
  • "Let the trumpet of salvation sound forth the victory of so great a King...  enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King
  • "Your King hat passed through, and he is victorious....for your King shall come again, and he shall dwell among you all the days of your life."  It has been a long time since the Gondor had a King.  Denethor is only a Steward and not a King, in the same way as Pepin the Short, the father of Charlemagned, was before not a King of Franks, but only a Mayor of the Palace.  Earnur was the last king of Gondor crowned in 2043 (LOTR, p. 1052).  The Witch-King challenged him to battle and Earnur was never seen again; the Witch-King was later killed not by a man, but by a hobbit (Merry) and by a woman (Eowyn).  After no news of Earnur came, the Steward ruled Gondor and the Stewardship became hereditary.  "Nonetheless the Stewards never sat on the ancient throne; and they wore no crown, and held no sceptre.  The bore a white rod only as the token of their office; and their banner was white without charge; but the royal banner had been sable, upon which was displayed a white tree in blossom beneath seven stars." (LOTR p. 1053).  The royal banner was only unfurled again when Aragorn returned together with the Black Ships in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (15 March 3019): "There flowered a White Tree, and that was for Gondor; but Seven Stars were about it, and a high crown above it, the signs of Elendil that no lord had borne for years beyond count.  And the stars flamed with the sunlight, for they were wrought of gems by Arwen daughter of Elrond; and the crown was bright in the morning, for it was wrought of mithril and gold." (LOTR p. 847) 
4. Church and the City
  • "Let our mother the Church also rejoice, adorned with the brightness of so great a light; and let this temple resound with the loud acclamations of the people. 
  • "The City shall be blessed. Sing all ye people!" Here is what happened to Gondor in the reign of King Aragorn: "In his time the City was made more fair that it had ever been, even in the days of its first glory; and it was filled with trees and with fountains, and its gates were wrought of mithril and steel, and its streets were paved with white marble; and the Folk of the Mountain laboured in it, and the Folk of the Wood rejoiced to come there; and all was healed and made good, and the houses were filled with men and women and the laughter of children, and no window was blind nor any courtyeard empty; and after the ending of the Third Age of the world into the new age it preserved the memory and the glory of the years that were gone." (LOTR p. 968)
5. The Cross and the White Tree
  • The cross is a dead tree and is a symbol of death.  But Christ made the cross the tree of life.  That is why we plant the cross on the high places to proclaim the Triumph of Christ over Death.  As St. Paul proclaimed: "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”d 56The sting of death is sin,* and the power of sin is the law.e 57But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 15:54-57) 
  • "And the Tree that has withered shall be renewed, and he shall plant it in the high places."  Here is how Gandalf helped Aragorn find the sapling of the White Tree: "'Turn your face from the green world, and look where all seems barren and cold!' said Gandalf. Then Aragorn turned, and there was a stony slope behind him running down from the skirts of the snow; and as he looked he was aware that alone there in the waste a growing thing stood.  And he climbed to it, and sway that out of the very edge of the snow there sprang a spaling tree no more than three foot high.  Already it had put forth young leaves long and shapely,  dark above and silver beneath, and upon its slender crown it bore one small cluster of lowers whose white petals shone like the sunlit snow....Aragorn laid his hand gently to the sapling, and lo! it seemed to hold only lightly to the earth, and it was removed without hur; and Aragorn bore it back to the Citadel.  Then the withered tree was uprooted, but with reverence; and they did not burn it, but laid it to rest in the silence of Rath Dinen.  And Aragorn planted the new tree in the court by the fountain, and swiftly and gladly it began to grow, and when the month of June entered in it was laden with blossoms." (LOTR pp. 971-972)
Word count: 1610 words
Icon of the Resurrection by Surgun100 (Wikipedia)
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