Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Tolkien on the Eucharist

On the theme of liturgy not living up to one's expectations, I ran into a quotation from Tolkien's letters which reinforces my admiration for the man:

The only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)


Fred said...

beautiful and timely (God may not make Himself present according to [our] preconceived notions)

Pro Ecclesia said...

Isn't it more than a little ironic that Rod Dreher quotes this particular excerpt from Tolkien in his Crunchy Con book?

Darwin said...


I guess that would explain why someone quoted part of the Tolkien passage at Rod in him comment boxes. Which in turn sent me skurrying off to find the whole quote via Google.


John Farrell said...

It's Tolkien...not Tolkein.