Music and, more recently, film have ever wielded the power to sway our hearts well before our minds become aware of the ruse. This power is subtle, yet it often grips us with tremendous force. This power can be abused, but it can also serve as the impetus for bridging that great chasm between our heads and our hearts. One such instance of that power may be glimpsed in the above scene from The Hobbit.
As you may know, J. R. R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic. He inserted a great deal of religious symbolism into his work, both overtly and subconsciously. One character that exhibits this symbolism is the Lady Galadriel. Writing to a close friend, Tolkien confirmed that Galadriel is imbued with his own understanding of the Virgin Mary’s character:
I think I know exactly what you mean by the order of Grace; and of course by your references to Our Lady, upon which all my own small perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded.
In this scene from The Hobbit, we are presented with an opportunity to step outside of our preconceptions about the Mother of God. We see a portrayal of beauty, “both in majesty and simplicity.” We see the tenderness and compassion of a loving mother, as she gently embraces Gandalf’s weak and fearful hands. We see a faithfulness that inspires hope.
We can see Mary as our own mother, guiding us lovingly towards hope in her son. In John’s gospel, Jesus bestows his mother upon us as he hung dying on the cross:
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
It is for this reason that she is oftentimes referred to as the “Mother of All the Living.” And for this reason that we can turn to her as we would turn to our own mothers. We can hold out our own fearful hands, confident that our Blessed Mother will lovingly intercede for us at the feet of her son.
Let us, then, turn to Mary with the assurance that her loving petitions will be heard by her son, our Lord:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.