Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fr. Danielou on The Return of the King

Today, Carl Olson reposted his 2004 article "Advent with Jean Cardinal Daniélou" which quotes from "The Advent of Salvation". The whole article is excellent reading, but I was (of course) especially struck by this paragraph:
The Return of the King: "We live always during Advent," writes Daniélou, "we are always waiting for the Messiah to come." Jesus came once and He will come again, but He is not yet fully made known. "He is not fully manifest in mankind as a whole: that is to say, that just as Christ was born according to the flesh in Bethlehem of Judah so much he be born according to the spirit in each of our souls." Advent is anticipation, preparation, and contemplation of the King.
For me, this recalls not just the third book in The Lord of the Rings but, specifically, the city of Minas Tirith. How curious that the people have as their symbol a dead tree - the White Tree of Gondor. It is nothing but outstretched branches and not a blossom or leaf. It is dead and a simple of the end of the line of kings. Why then honor that tree? Why display it for all to see? It is for the same reason we honor His Tree, because it is through death that we come to new life. It is through death that the glory of new life is most radiant. The people of Gondor wait for that glory, for the day when a living tree stands in that place, when the King has returned.

"Minas Tirith" is the "tower of watch". It watches the border, yes - on guard against an incursion from Mordor. It watches, too, for the return of the King. It watches for the return of life to the white tree, the return to glory for the great City of the King. And so we wait, as well. We are an advent people, just like the people of Gondor. Like them, we cannot watch complacently. We cannot watch idly not just because the forces of darkness are close but because we do not know when our King will return. So we wait faithfully and keep watch in hope. We wait in "anticipation, preparation, and contemplation of the King."

No comments:

Post a Comment