Tomorrow, March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day. It is a day set aside for reading and appreciating Tolkien’s works. It is also the day of the downfall of Sauron and the destruction of the Ring. Hence, it is one of the most important dates in Tolkien’s legendarium.
However, the date was also of central importance to Tolkien’s Catholic faith. March 25th is the feastday of the annunciation, or conception of Jesus. Traditionally, this date is also the day of the Cruxifiction. Like the kingdom of Godor, March 25th was also the beginning of the year. This is the one and only explicit link in The Lord of the Rings to Tolkien’s faith. As an important date in his life and faith is makes sense to choose this day. Yet we should also consider the nature of eucatastrophe. This wasn’t a choice made lightly, just for this association. There are deeper layers to the link.
Eucatastrophe is the sudden intervention of Grace which causes a miraculous change in the course of events. Both the Annunciation and the Cruxifiction expemplify this chain of events. The meeting between Gabriel and Mary leads to the conception of Jesus through the divine grace of the Holy Spirit. The Cruxifiction is another moment of eucatastrophe within the larger context of the Easter Tridium.
By chance, Gollum finds Frodo once more at the Cracks of Doom. He regains the Ring. He celebrates, and inadvertently falls to his death and the destruction of the Ring. Is it any consequence, that at this exact moment, the army of the West is nearing defeat? Or that Frodo has finally succumbed and the Sauron is finally aware of his doom? No. Here is crux of the story. Here is the entrance of Grace.
It is interesting to look at the association in another way. The Lord of the Rings as well as the Silmarillion were created as a pre-history, long forgotten. Many of the dates of Christian and even pagan feasts and rituals are derived from the seasons or past traditions long forgotten. Using this same mechanism, Tolkien is easily able to place Middle Earth within our own history.