Upon my request last year (and the year before) (and the year before that) Mass could not be changed by 15 minutes. School mothers the parish over could not drop their children off at school for 9.00, and get to Mass for 9.00. So unless you leave your small child in the office reception, or get the older children to settle your child into class, else get a partner (or someone else) to do the school run, you are late, or don’t go all together. How many young mothers are we loosing. My children’s school day begins at 8.50 ~ and then its a sprint drive to get to church.
Morning prayer is absolutely out of the question.
I constantly arrive much of the way through morning prayer ~ often just in time for The Lords Prayer. I tiptoe in, put my palms together, tips of my fingers kissing my lips, and He finds me ~ and stills me ~ and holds me close. I have no idea what pages or what reading, or where about’s we should be, and this allows me purely to pray ~ and to be ~ and to listen in prayer.
As for the Benedictus I know nothing ~ but in silent wonder it Amazes me that every time, without fail, whenever we reach the lines ‘As for you little child, you shall be called a prophet of God the most high’ I know them. I recite them perfectly ~ time and time again ~ and then I drift off in to prayer again. My rote memory isn’t brilliant, and coming to faith late there are so many prayers that I need to learn. I keep trying and I keep praying. And I hope one day that they stick, and that I have my own more formal routine.
6 Years have passed now since I first came to the Catholic Church. I am very much greyer. My body is ageing. What was at once soft is softer still. I look naked at myself and I feel acute sadness for a beautiful woman who is trapped. Meanwhile day by night time passes over. No longer allowed to share that beauty, neither is there consolation in friendship. I am 43 almost 44, and it feels as if I have been abandoned ~ unloved ~ unnaturally before it was meant to be this way ~ and it hurts like Hell.
Last week we took in a stray cat. She was not far from death ~ however far death is. She followed my Son home from school, calling out in desperate need. We opened the door and she came straight in emaciated, dehydrated and dirty, with only one eye. The dog ran up to her in a great bounce and she just lay down in submission and exhaustion on the hallway floor. The other two cats Martha and Psalm scorned at her, she didn’t retaliate, or cower away, she was too in need.
At first I named that gentle creature Cotton. So gentle both in touch and in the sweetest nature. She weighed nothing at all. I bathed her, and hair dryer’d her warm, all bones. She drank so very much water on the first evening. She ate regularly ~ I kept food down on the floor continually, so she could help herself when ever she wanted to. She was sneezey and watery eyed, so I gave her 1/4 of a crushed Vitamin C tablet on a spoon with a little warmed chicken soup, and she ate it all.
Today I took her to the vet ~ I was worried about the bill ~ but the vets were lenient and the money – well I just used it as a tool, and told the kids that’s all it is. I was concerned about the hollow wound of the eye, which although I bathed, appeared pussy. However it turned out that she hadn’t lost her eye at all, but she was more than likely born deformed. With a deeply set small undeveloped whitish eye, set right inside the eye socket, deeply sunk into her head ~ baerly visible. From the outside it just looks like an opening with a hole. They gave her a long working antibiotic injection for cat flu.
The vet asked me to name her. Although the name Cotton has a lovely connotation I have called her Maggie. Martha the other cat wasn’t very gracious when the poorliest stray wanted to stay in my company, and sleep safely upon my lap. The little darling hasn’t left my side. So we are now Maggie, Martha, Psalm and Papa the dog, whom I got almost 9 years ago now, just after I lost my Daddy (hence the reminder) ~ 3 years before I came to the Catholic Church.
I don’t allow pets upstairs, or in my Sanctuary, but close to death Maggie needed to feel Loved, so I allowed her to sleep on my bed ~ in the warm ~ keeping her close to me. I lay naked upon my cotton sheets below a feather duvet and the cat walked up the bed and climbed up and lay for a moment upon my chest ~ upon my naked skin ~ not unlike a baby. So soft ~ so light as a feather ~ warm. And I could feel her little chest rising and falling, and she nuzzled her head into me, and slept there. And then after a while she climbed off and snuggled down on top of the feathers, against the arc of my body where she stayed until morning. And then the tears came, because of the pain. Because I haven’t felt so intimately close to another being in such a long while.
And I hate it.