What Would Tolkien Say?

J. R. R. Tolkien became a Catholic at the age of eight, on the occasion of his widowed mother’s conversion to the True Faith. His sensus fidei comes through loud and clear in his writing, which always depicts the difficult — even heroic — choices that have to be made in the struggle between good and evil. When writing, Tolkien placed wisdom and goodness into his character, Gandalf, who initially aided Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. Later on, as related in Tolkien’s masterpiece trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo’s courageous nephew, Frodo, accepts his cross — a mission from which he is not likely to return. At one point, in the first book of the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, there is a brief exchange between Frodo and Gandalf regarding the evil times in which they live. Like Frodo, who was wishing he could turn back the hands of time to the more peaceful days of his youth in the Shire, we may look back with melancholy at a seemingly simpler and more innocent time. But, see how timeless and relevant Gandalf’s words are for our own days:

“I wish it had not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

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