12 January 2008

Tolkien on Soul Mates

I don't think Tolkien would be considered a key Christian figure of instruction in the history of the church (although some treat his Lord Of The Rings series as near-inspired!), but regardless he makes excellent points in this letter to his son. I appreciate the way he points out that "The real soul mate is the one you are actually married to", and "I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament". I'm assuming his "Blessed Sacrament" refers to Christ. I have never heard it described that way before.

In a letter to his son Michael, Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien writes:
No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial.

Too few are told that--even those brought up "in the Church." Those outside seem seldom to have heard it. When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that come along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only---. Hence divorce, to provide the "if only."

And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgment concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the "real soul-mate" is the one you are actually married to.

....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 upon 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.

HT: http://wittingshire.blogspot.com/2008/01/tolkien-on-soul-mates.html

1 comment:

Anthony said...

Tolkien's "Blessed Sacrament" is the Blessed sacrament of the Catholic Church. The Eucharist.
He was a devout Catholic for most of his life and his Lord of the Rings trilogy is described (by him) as a "profoundly Catholic" fairy tale.