Being in a place like the Sierra Nevada range or Rocky Mountains can bring to mind the rugged landscapes of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR). I spent a lot of time reading it while we were traveling and while we relaxed on the beach. The beautiful scenery in Lake Tahoe also made Adam and I feel like we were journeying through Middle Earth. LOTR is arguably one of the greatest stories of all time. And while I was reading it, I reflected often on spiritual things. Tolkien did say, “The Lord of the Rings' is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”
As I read through the work, there were so many scenes both large and small where Tolkien artfully portrayed the spiritual reality of the battle of good vs evil, Our Lord vs the enemy. People are so drawn to and fascinated by these epic stories: good vs evil, the persevering hero against all odds, and sacrifice for the sake of others. I think this is partially because our inheritance IS an epic story, it’s the core of our being and we still live it all day every day. This is THE truth. Jesus came to battle the great enemy and defeated him against all odds, persevering and laying down his life for those He loved: us. And reflecting on that as I read Tolkien’s incredible work revealed so much about the depth of the evil of the enemy, and the glory and goodness of our Lord.
But what struck me even more was that we are living an epic journey every day, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Some days you might be tempted to think your daily struggles against nagging sins are insignificant, perhaps not even worth battling anymore; like your small prayers are making little to no difference. If we were able to see these small daily struggles with a truly spiritual lens, however, we would realize that these battles are as incredible as charging into a league of 10,000 orcs on horseback wielding Anduril, the flame of the west! (nerd alert) Many saints have said that achieving true holiness lies in small things. May we not forget that our small struggles and offerings are infinitely glorious in the realms of Heaven, and that we serve the most benevolent and honorable King.