Saturday, May 31, 2008

Existential Dread, or Hope

Tolkien said in a personal letter to his son the following on the Holy Eucharist:
"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."
If this seems to maudlin to the modern reader, may I suggest you do the following: (a) have a near-miss with cancer; (b) realize what you love and value, and how little time you have in this existence; (c) ask what will remain when you die, which you will do. Then reread Tolkien's words (above), and, after asking yourself this question - "Who am I to argue with the man who wrote The Lord of the Rings?" - read this:

"It is existentially impossible to despair in the (real) presence of Jesus."

- Edward Schillebeeckx (quoted by Gil Bailie)

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