Sometimes it is good to stand back and remember the high moments of a special occasion, say our Advent and Christmas Liturgies – but also to recall the homely and seemingly insignificant things that can speak so eloquently of the love God our Father, has for us, his children – He comes to us in so many ways to reveal the wonder of His Fatherhood, the wonder of Jesus’ life and death in order to save us sinners, the wonder of His creation,
St. Francis is one of the saints who was very conscious of the beauty of Creation and we are told that it was he who created the first Christmas Crib.
But Scripture too has much to tell us as have our poets. Joseph Mary Plunket’s poem comes to mind:
“I see His Blood upon the Rose and in the stars the glory of His eyes, His body gleams amid eternal snows, His tears fall from the skies”
And Isaiah speaks of the peace that will come to the animal world.
“The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. The calf and the young lion shall browse together with a little child to lead them. Is.11.6.
During Christmas week, our homely Lord revealed His wonderful love and care for me through Dobbie and Star who are two homeless cats that wandered into our garden several years ago and decided to make their home with us. Mother, and we think son, are not noted for their great affection for each other so the following episode was a surprise.
A basket had been left outside a door in a sheltered spot and one frosty morning Star was found sleeping peacefully in it. A short while later, Dobbie was seen to have found her way right inside the basket beside Star and was carefully washing his face with an obvious maternal love! The son was actually allowing this to happen.
Later again, I found Dobbie with her paw right round Star and both fast asleep – an amazing example of Reconciliation…!
A line from Psalm 90(91) came to mind:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, and abides in the shade of the Almighty says to the Lord, “my refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust”.
Dobbie and Star’s new found friendship is not in contrast to God’s words to Jeremiah 31.3 “with an age old love I have loved you so I have my mercy for you” and again, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you came to birth I consecrated you” Jer. 1.5.
God’s love is not a passing love. He sees all my waywardness and fickleness yet his constant personal love for me never changes. St. John expresses it so beautifully: “as the Father has loved me so I have loved you – remain in my love” Jn.15.9 .
But our two little friends had still more to teach us. About a week after Christmas, the basket disappeared and the pussies have not yet returned to their sunny corner, and I really miss their delightful company – ‘Tis called – “Learning necessary detachment” - but again the poet got my perspectives right –
“He who holds to himself a joy
doth the winge’d life destroy.
He who kisses a joy as it flies
dwells in Eternities’ Sunrise”.
But Dobbie and Star have one final word of advice for us:
Do we know that there is a silver lining to every disappointment and this story ends on a note of joy –
The basket is back and Dobbie lies enthroned!