“Perish the man whose mind is backward now!”
Let’s just say I’m feeling very bouyed by your prayers and encouragement. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother….
And those that leave their valiant bones in France,
Dying like men, though buried in your dunghills,
They shall be famed; for there the sun shall greet them,
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven….
In this age of expansive exhortation and activist cajoling, a feverish myopia from which not even the highest churchmen are free, I must remind myself, if no one else, of an Entish exhortation which has fortified my soul for some time now, much as the soil energized the otherwise peerless Antaeus. We Catholic Ents must stay embedded in our roots on the ground of Holy Tradition.
“[A]s St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’ (Summa theologiae, IIa-IIae, qu. iii, art. 2, ad 2m.) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. …Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33) … Power certainly is not wanting to [Christ], but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent.”
– Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae, 14-15 (1890)
A closing codgitation:
While I will not hang my proverbial hat on this, I suspect that somewhere in Tolkien’s vast philological brain, there was a creative connection between the Ents (or “giants”) and the mighty rootedness of Antaeus the giant. I also suspect that there was a deeply Thomistic echo in Tolkien’s mind between the ancient wisdom and stability of the Ents, and the Thomistic doctrine of ens (‘being’) as the very canvas of the divine goodness.
For now, all I can say is that I still need time before taking up the mantle again (cf. my reply to comment #5). It’s finals time for my classes and I need some good old-fashioned sleep in between my life with two infants and a wife… and a consistently vigorous fitness regimen.
Stay tuned, and PLEASE keep me in your prayers (even if you wish I’d can it!).