Retrospective Explanation

I am not much for apologias anymore. God knows the last time I tried to explain myself, it was kind of a Google-ripping disaster.

(Only long-time readers with sharp memories will remember last Assumption Day’s apologia. That little post is now lost in the sands of time, never to be surfed again…)

Now “Preacher” has turned in his Big Daddy. You and I, dear reader, have moved on to the next, more noble chapter together (the one named after I Corinthians 13:8).

Only the good Lord knows how this stage of the journey will unfold. We are always on the way to better things (as long as we do not die outside the state of grace.)

Nonetheless: I would, for the sake of the record, like to make two points. They are taken from the ultimate source of authority in faith and morals, The Lord of the Rings. Receive them as you will.

I.
Before the Quest began, the Breelanders thought that Aragorn was an unkempt, loopy vagrant who spent too much time smoking his pipe in taprooms and chanting decrepit elven lays.

But “Strider” knew most of the pathways of Middle Earth. He could guide anyone to their destination without getting lost.

When everything was said and done, Aragorn cleaned up pretty nice. He turned out be a skilled healer and, in fact, the king.

II.
Frodo carried the Ring of Power all the way to Mount Doom by the sheer force of his indomitable hobbit will.

But when he stood at the fiery chasm, Frodo did NOT have the strength to throw the ring in, to destroy it. Left to himself, Frodo would have walked away with the ring like Isildur did, and evil would have triumphed.

But the higher powers had a grander plan. Gollum attacked Frodo at just the right moment. In the struggle of two weakened wills, the evil ring fell into the chasm and was destroyed.

The higher powers see things we do not see. They know things we do not know. They make good winds blow when the time is ripe.

This is why the Valar most want us earthlings to be humble. They prize humility above all other human virtues.

…But, listen: I deserve every reproof I get, and I appreciate them all. In the ineffable words of Billy Joel, You may be right

…Pray for the new pastor on Sunday, please! Pray that I will be open to every grace, and we will all move forward toward heaven together!

Mystery of the Lost Coin

smadehChapter fifteen of St. Luke’s gospel is famous for containing: the parable of the Lost Sheep and the parable of the Prodigal Son.

In between these two beautiful parables, there is a strange one, the parable of the Lost Coin:

Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it?

And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’

In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Please do not get me wrong: I mean no disrespect to our Lord. But I have always found this parable strange.

coins necklaceSure, losing one-tenth of your savings is something that would lead you to go searching, lamp in hand. But there seems to be more to this than the monetary value of the coin…

There is:

According to the old customs of Palestine, brides do not wear wedding rings. They wear veils embroidered with coins, or necklaces made of coins. The coins symbolize the dowry they brought to the marriage. The coins ARE the wedding ring, the symbol of the marriage bond.

The woman in the parable, searching the house frantically with lighted lamp, is searching for her lost wedding ring.

(Hat tip to H.V. Morton.)