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Old 06-05-2002, 08:14 PM   #31
Visionary Spirit
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 633
Gandalf_theGrey has just left Hobbiton.

Greetings Sharon, Hobbit of the 7th Age,

Many of the points you make regarding Frodo's struggle, regarding the concept of Elvishness representing spirituality, resonate with me ... and more, spark related remembrances. Please allow me to respond here to one paragraph in particular.

There is tremendous light in your words when you say:

I believe the basic divide in Frodo's soul as he struggles towards Mordor is that of good versus evil. What's so interesting is that both good and evil are growing within him at the same time. In most stories, the character has growth in one direction or the other, but usually not in both simultaneously. This must have created unbearable tension for Frodo.
This same sense of spiritual crisis has been experienced by some of the greatest Catholic saints. I will give two examples.

1) St. John of the Cross, Spanish mystic whose most famous work is called "Dark Night of the Soul." He presents perhaps a pattern for Frodo's mysticism:

Detachment and suffering are presented as requirements for the purification and illumination of the soul. St. John of the Cross depicts the "dark night of the soul" as "an inflowing of God into the soul, which purges it from its ignorances and imperfections, habitual, natural, and spiritual, and which is called by contemplatives infused contemplation or mystical theology." The phrase "dark night of the soul" has since become a reference to the state of intense personal spiritual struggle including the experience of utter hopelessness and isolation prior to attaining mystical transcendence.
Above quote comes from the following website:

2) St. Faustina, Polish Nun

From Faustina's writings come the following testimony of her experiences. Compare this to the description in Belin's worthy post where he brings up Frodo's seeing only the Ring before his eyes the closer he comes to Mount Doom:

The abyss of my misery was constantly before my eyes. Every time I entered the chapel for some spiritual exercise, I experienced even worse torments and temptations. More than once, all through Holy Mass, I had to struggle against blasphemous thoughts which were forcing themselves to my lips. I felt an aversion for the Holy Sacraments, and it seemed to me that I was not profiting from them in any way. It was only out of obedience to my confessor that I frequented them, and this blind obedience was for me the only path I could follow and my very last hope of survival.
Above quote comes from the following website:

Frodo's heroism is in his struggle.

Gandalf the Grey

[ June 05, 2002: Message edited by: Gandalf_theGrey ]
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