Thursday, July 18, 2013

Missing Ren

Fourteen years ago, our former neighbor’s husband died.  Her students, at the time, decided she didn’t need to come home to an empty house.  So they gave her a miniature dachshund puppy and named her Ren.  I’ll never forget seeing her hold that small brown love with dark puddles for eyes.

At the same time our son decided we had to have a small black kitten.  He knew if he brought it home I wouldn’t be able to say no.  My husband and I always said we didn’t like cats.  This one fit in the palm of my hand.  His mother had died, and he was bottled raised.

When my neighbor retired she began to travel a good bit.  We had the pleasure of taking care of her sweet Ren.  That puppy and our kitten played like there was no tomorrow.   They wrestled and tumbled all over the house.  They were crazy about each other.

We eventually moved and shortly after the move our black cat died from cancer.  But we continued to watch little Ren when her “mama” travelled.  We had another black cat, and she never understood why he wouldn’t play with her.  She climbed the cat tree in hopes he would be her friend.  It never happened so she resigned herself to playing with our outside dogs and barking at anything that was on the other side of the fence.  When she barked it sounded like, “beeeyurk.”

Not too long ago Ren had a seizure at her house.  Then she had one the last time we kept her.  But she recovered quickly both times.  Recently she did it again and didn’t recover.  The Vet said he thought she had a brain tumor.

Today Ren’s mama called to say she took her to the Vet, and held her as she slipped away.  And though I’ve already cried because I knew it was coming, I am crying again.  I am one of those who believe that love remains for eternity.  The sweet spirits we get to hug and pet stay with us because of love.  And I want to believe that somewhere a little black cat and a sweet wiener dog are playing and resting side by side…forever in our hearts.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday and Reconciliation

The Gospel reading for this Sunday is John 20:19-31.  And from that reading we have Jesus speaking to the Apostles. 

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

We see God “breathing” two times in Scripture.  The first is life into Adam, then again on the Apostles.  What does this signify?  Mankind is separated from his Creator through sin.  This breath brings spiritual life where one was once dead.  This is the Sacrament of Reconciliation!  Reading the Scripture above we see where Jesus gives the Apostles the authority to forgive, and not to forgive.

There are many Catholics who dodge “confession.”  I know because not only do they tell me, but when we have parish reconciliation there should be more people showing up.   The reason for dodging confession is usually traced to humbling oneself.  It is an issue of pride.  But the sad thing is the dodger is losing out.  Those who have just returned and those who go to confession regularly will tell you it is an immense grace.  The Sacraments are not something we “do” to God.  They are avenues of His grace.  After a good confession, people have said, “I feel like the world has been lifted off of my shoulders.”  Or, “I felt like I was walking on air.”  People sleep better and feel better, physically and mentally.

Here is the challenge.  Pray about going back to confession if you haven’t been in awhile.  If you are afraid ask others to pray for you.  Don’t let fear or pride stand in the way.  Tell the priest immediately that you haven’t been in a long time.  If fearful, explain that too.  He will walk you through it!

Early Christians thoughts on confession.