Lately, I feel like I’m living in Middle Earth; J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythical world where death and destruction abound. For anyone who has read Tolkien’s trilogy (The Hobbit, The Twin Towers, and The Return of the King), or at the very least watched Peter Jackson’s film adaptations, you can appreciate this reference. Our world today appears to be a bastion of Gollums and Sarumons and Ocres…..oh, my! All motivated by the Dark Lord and Necromancer, Sauron. Meanwhile, the age of man is in desperate need of an emancipator.
Although countless analogies have been drawn between Tolkien’s work and the Catholic Church, or Christianity in general (e.g., Dr. Peter Kreeft), much of what Tolkien found distressing in his world in 1930 is still just as relevant today. In fact, Tolkien’s theme of moral authority in his books was inspired by his service in the British army during WWI. (1914 – 1918) He witnessed lethal chemical weapons used in that war, killing many of his friends and comrades.
To date, the turmoil in Syria has heightened the world’s anxiety. All eyes are on United States’ President, Barack Obama, as he champions support for a military strike against the Syrian government as justifiable punishment for Syria’s use of chemical weapons in their civil war. Although hard evidence has not be verified, Obama feels it is the duty of the American government, or the United Nations, to hold Syria accountable for presumably violating the chemical weapons ban. The 1929 Geneva protocol first prohibited the use of poisonous gas as a weapon of war. Then in 1993 the Chemical Weapons Convention went a little further and outlawed the production, stockpile, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. Countries that ratified the treaty pledged to destroy their existing stockpiles. Not surprising, not every country signed that treaty including North Korea, Egypt, Angola and…yes, you guessed it…Syria.
Aside from any obvious, or ulterior, motives for launching a military strike against Syria, military action should never be a knee-jerk response, or entered into without prayerful guidance. If military action were the preferred choice of God, He never would have armed Moses with nothing more than a big stick and sent him back into Egypt to free the Jews. Instead, God would have instructed Moses to amass an army and return in revengeful fury. Based upon good counsel with his Heavenly Father, and armed with the power of God, Moses walked back into Egypt and simply negotiated the Jews’ release. Of course, he had a little Divine assistance.
Don’t we possess that same Divine assistance today….if we will only seek His counsel?
Every good leader who has been genuinely concerned for the welfare of mankind has sought good counsel before taking action. Consider Abraham Lincoln. Now there’s an American President that was not ashamed to profess that he sought God’s counsel before every decision he made. Humanity can only hope that President Obama, and other nations’ leaders, are seeking the same resolution before acting. In reference to Tolkien, personally, I hope and pray that Obama doesn’t have a Wormtongue whispering in his ear, manipulating the outcome for the destruction of mankind.
In an effort to offer President Obama good counsel, the Syrian-born leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, has called on the United States, and other countries, to avoid military action. In an interview with the Catholic New Agency, the Patriarch said, “The tragic situation that Syria has been experiencing for the last two and a half years is the strongest evidence of the primary importance of seeking the earliest possible peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the crisis.” He further emphasized that global involvement has only caused the conflict to escalate.
Likewise, Pope Francis has asked the leaders of all nations to embrace efforts for peace first and foremost. In response to the world’s distress in this matter, Pope Francis has called for a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Peace in Syria, the Middle East and the world on September 7, 2013, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace. Pope Francis reiterated in this request, …”peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected”…..”all men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace.”
Could our Blessed Mother, Mary, the Queen of Peace, truly aid us in this time of need?
It is interesting to note that while J.R.R. Tolkien was serving in the Great War, half way around the world in a little village in Fatima, Portugal, three children were communing with the Queen of Peace that Pope Francis asks us to seek now.
On May 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children in a place called Cova da Iria. It was noon, and Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco were shepherding their sheep. Suddenly lightening flashed across the sky, so the children ran for cover thinking it was going to rain. In their haste, they stopped and saw a beautiful lady made of light hovering above an oak tree, holding a rosary in her hands. She asked the children to pray and make sacrifices for sinners. Our Lady asked them to come to the same place and meet with her on the thirteenth day of the next five consecutive months, which they did. While these precious children prayed the rosary every day and met with Our Lady once a month, the world around them was in chaos. Our Lady told the children that WWI would end (1918), but “if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI.” Obviously, mankind didn’t pray hard enough, because the second world war broke out just as Our Lady proclaimed. This was only the first of many messages that Our Lady would deliver to the children; messages that would eventual hold true. (TimeLine)
It has always appealed to me that in Tolkien’s novels it is merely an unassuming hobbit that is able to reverse the fate of man. In our world, God has always chosen the humblest among us as our guides. Throughout history, it is the selfless, the often uneducated that God solicits through Our Lady of Peace. The messages they deliver to us, through God, clearly shows us a more Divine path to peace in this world; Marie Bernarde Soubirous (St. Bernadette), Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta), Zoe Labouré (St. Catherine Labouré) the three children of Fatima (Lucia, Jancita and Francisco).
Like all the conflicts that preceded us, humanity now stands upon a threshold. Which direction will we choose in this dilemma? If the first and only response that our leaders will embrace is military action, such recourse will surely ignite a deadly war that will draw more conflict beyond Syria’s borders.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis recognizes and reminds us that Our Lady is waiting patiently to help us, if only we will seek her intervention. Her prayers before the Father on behalf of humanity and our world have always been good and fruitful counsel. Our prayers to Our Heavenly Father through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, have always been heard. He wants to see peace on earth. But we have to be willing to ask for His help, for His forgiveness, and His mercy.
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven.” – Psalm 107:28-30
Our Lady of Peace, please pray for us. Amen.
© 2013. Diane McKelva. All Rights Reserved.