06 Hobbits and the Spiritual Value of Rest (Lord of the Rings theme #2)

Hobbits Shire Rest Pipeweed

Blurb of “Hobbits and the Spiritual Value of Rest”

Rest … we could all do with more of it! But what part does it play in the Catholic spiritual life? Explore how the spirituality of rest permeates The Lord of the Rings. Learn how even in the middle of their urgent mission, hobbits made a place for rest and celebration. If today you’re feeling like “butter spread over too much bread”, be replenished within the Fellowship!

Excerpt from ‘Hobbits and the Spiritual Value of Rest”

“…Today we explore the topic of rest and especially the spiritual value of rest. This is a topic which is so important for our current times, but yet rarely discussed, and certainly not usually in the context of Lord of the Rings. But…you may be surprised how much wisdom Hobbits have to offer the spiritual life, esp. during times of crisis. This episode, we’ll explore author J.R.R. Tolkien’s appreciation of … nature’s rhythms, the value of celebration, and the virtue of patience, and in doing so… hopefully rediscover the place of rest in our lives… even amidst absolute busyness and chaos…”

The Tom Bombadil passage on rest

The Tom Bombadil passage read out in the podcast (this scene found in The Fellowship of the Ring): “Before long, washed and refreshed, the hobbits were seated at the table, two on each side, while at either end sat Goldberry and the Master. It was a long and merry meal. Though the hobbits ate, as only famished hobbits can eat, there was no lack. The drink in their drinking bowls seemed to be clear cold water, yet it went to their hearts like wine and set free their voices. The guests became suddenly aware that they were singing merrily, as if it was easier and more natural than talking. At last, Tom and Goldberry rose and cleared the table swiftly. The guests were commanded to sit quiet, and were set in chairs, each with a footstool to his tired feet. There was a fire in the wide hearth before them, and it was burning with a sweet smell, as if it were built of apple wood. When everything was set in order, all the lights in the room were put out, except one lamp and a pair of candles at each end of the chimney-shelf. Then Goldberry came and stood before them, holding a candle; and she wished them each a good night and deep sleep.” Skip forward a few passage of dialogue, and then Tom says this to the Hobbits: … That is right, said the old man. Now is the time for resting. Some things are ill to hear when the world is in shadow. Sleep till the morning-light, rest on the pillow! Heed no nightly noise! Fear no grey willow. And with that he took down the lamp and blew it out, and grasping a candle in either hand he led them out of the room. Their mattresses and pillows were soft as down and the blankets were of white wool. They had hardly laid themselves on the deep beds and drawn the light covers over them before they were asleep.” 

Good resources for further reading on the topic of rest

– Abandonment to Divine Providence (Jean-Pierre de Caussade)
– Leisure, The Basis of Culture (Josef Pieper)

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