At Home in Middle-Earth: Becoming Strongholds of Goodness

"His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley."
- The Hobbit, A Short Rest

EVIL THINGS DID NOT COME INTO THAT VALLEY.

This quote has been stuck in my head for some time now (as I'm sure you've noticed since I write about it so often), and it's come to mean quite a lot to me. It's the kind of quote I'd like to paint across a giant canvas and hang above the entry way of my home. Evil things do not come into this home.

And of course, we know that evil is not simply an outside force that we must keep out, but there is an inclination in all of our hearts to sin. Even in the noblest of men or the simplest of hobbits or the wisest of wizards, we all face temptation and fall into sin.

But in our daily walk towards Christ, in this lifelong journey of sanctification, we must choose light over darkness. And we must ask God for the grace to walk in His light.

We must embrace love to the point of overflowing, so that our lives will be filled with so much goodness that there will be no room at all for anything evil.  

Elrond and all those who live in the valley of Rivendell are far from perfect, just as the Hobbits and dwarves and wizards and men who visit there. But the difference we see is that there is a surrounding peace -- a safe haven -- which encourages healing and growth, and enables the elves and all who come to Rivendell to set off on their journeys refreshed, nourished, healed, and encouraged.

And it was not enough that Rivendell was devoid of evil things. No, it was that it was filled with many forms of goodness; food, drink, healing, rest, nourishment were all offered freely in Rivendell. It was a place of enrichment.

“HIS HOUSE WAS PERFECT, WHETHER YOU LIKED FOOD, OR SLEEP, OR WORK, OR STORY-TELLING, OR SINGING, OR JUST SITTING AND THINKING BEST, OR A PLEASANT MIXTURE OF THEM ALL.”

It's not enough to just not have bad things in our life, we need to have good things. There needs to be an abundance of good things. {and I'm not talking about material "things"}

I like to think of Tea with Tolkien, our little home in this corner of the internet, as a place like Rivendell (well, more like a quaint hobbit hole). But the idea is that I want this place to be filled with truth, love, joy, and charity. I pray that you will come when you can and leave with a refreshed and encouraged spirit.

We talk about truth here, we talk about the books we're reading and culture, we talk about the saints and the Church. And when we are steeped in these things, we will grow in wisdom and it will overflow into all of our lives.

WE NEED TO STEEP OURSELVES IN TRUTH, WALK TOWARD THE LIGHT, AND BE ENCOURAGED BY THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." - Philippians 4:4-9

If we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with goodness, if we take care to receive the Sacraments, if we choose to embrace the culture of life -- then the culture of death will have no place in our hearts or our homes.

IN RIVENDELL, WE FIND NOT A BATTLEGROUND AGAINST EVIL, BUT A STRONGHOLD OF GOODNESS.

CHRIST HAS ALREADY WON. HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD.

IN HIM, WE HAVE PEACE. 

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:37-39

We will have hard days and conflicts, we will be weary and tired, but we are at home in Christ and we can find comfort in the fact that he has overcome all evil.

AND SO WE ARE STRONGHOLDS OF GOODNESS. 

May our homes be a reflection of this truth. 

May they be reminders of Christ's victory, His joy, His peace. May all who step foot through our doors be met with His love. 

And maybe this is an intimidating idea, but it's not meant to be. And if you think about it, the call to Christianity is also intimidating but we choose it anyway. We are all imperfect and unloving and inhospitable at times, but Christ is perfect and is always with us, and it helps to have reminder like this floating around in my mind and hanging on my walls. 

THIS IS MY PRAYER FOR OUR HOMES (AND OUR HEARTS).


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