28 October 2016

Hobbits, Franciscans, and the Crucifix

One of our seminarians at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary recently invited me to give a talk for the Theology of Tap program at Marian University in Indianapolis. The talk, he suggested, should focus on something regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and Catholicism.

After soliciting suggestions from members of The Tolkien Society, I have decided to title my talk (which is still percolating in my mind), "'Joy Like Swords'": Hobbits, Franciscans, & the Crucifix."

To help with the advertising of the event, I sent this brief sketch of the talk, which should match up with my final text:

After Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee listened to a minstrel sing of the deeds of the Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien explains that “their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.” These words often strike the reader as something of great profundity, even if they do not quite understand their full meaning.

Thomas of Celano wrote that “joy and sorrow were intermingled” in Saint Francis of Assisi. By exploring the Professors’ phrase “joy like swords” in light of the stigmatization of the Seraphic Father, we can approach the reality of joy and sorrow even as God’s merciful love floods our wounds when we embrace the Cross.
The talk will be given on November 10, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in Alumni Hall on the campus of Marian University. It is open to the public and there is, as I understand it, a small admission fee depending on your choice of beverage (something like $5 with alcohol or $2 without).

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