Discovering the Sacraments in Middle-Earth: Boromir's Confession
In the opening scene of The Two Towers, Aragorn rushes to Boromir's aid after hearing his desperate call. Upon finding him, he realizes he has come too late; Boromir has been pierced with many orc arrows and now lays dying.
“I tried to take the Ring from Frodo,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there. 'They have gone: the Halflings: the Orcs have taken them. I think they are not dead. Orcs bound them.' He paused and his eyes closed wearily. After a moment he spoke again.
'Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.'
'No!' said Aragorn, taking his hand and kissing his brow. 'You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!
Boromir confesses that he tried to take the Ring from Frodo and as atonement, he has defended the hobbits against the Orcs soldiers. Although he fought valiantly, he was unable to overcome against their strength and number, and the hobbits have been taken captive by the Orcs.
Aragorn reassures him, "You have conquered. Few have gained such a victory. Be at peace! Minas Tirith shall not fall!" After this, Boromir breathes his last and Aragorn weeps bitterly for the loss of his friend.
“He knelt for a while, bent with weeping, still clasping Boromir’s hand.”
Bless me Father, For I have Sinned
Boromir’s last moments call to mind an image of a deathbed confession, and indeed they contain all the elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation: confession, contrition, satisfaction, and absolution.
Boromir speaks plainly of his wrongdoing, facing the truth rather than concealing it from Aragorn (confession).
He is greatly sorry for having attempted to take the Ring (contrition) and has submitted himself to the defense of the hobbits as his means of penance (satisfaction).
And as he confesses, Aragorn acts as a priestly counsellor to his friend, showing him mercy and forgiveness in his last moments (absolution).
Forgive us our Trespasses
Encouraged by Boromir's last confession, seek out reconciliation in your own life, whether by receiving the Sacrament itself, by apologizing to a person you’ve wronged, or by doing what you can to heal any brokenness in your life.
Inspired by Aragorn's mercy towards Boromir, consider those who may need your forgiveness.
Aragorn may have felt justified if he had lashed out in anger or withheld forgiveness from Boromir after his grave mistake, yet he chose to act mercifully and to grant him peace in his final moments. This, in turn, benefitted Aragorn as much as it did Boromir.
Today, spend time reflecting on Christ’s words as he taught his Apostles how to pray to Our Father in heaven, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”