This morning I would like to report on how my animals are handling Lent. They are very good at spiritual disciplines, good at yoga and stretching, also.
1). When something important is going on, like an interaction with another creature or with a human being, they drop what they are doing, and pay complete attention.
2). They are fully present when they are awake. Awake, alert, refreshed, and ready for action. They are completely in touch with what’s real in the moment.
3). They have excellent powers of concentration when necessary, and can meditate for a long time on very simple objects, like door knobs or very, very small spots on the floor. They can meditate upon the unseen world, as well, or rather on that which is seen only by them. In the recent electrical shortage, our very curious cat Edith was entranced by a flickering flame of a candle, sitting before it with great concentration. Like many worshippers, she loves candlelight. Am glad however, that worshippers don’t test the flame to see if they can eat it.
4). The animals love unconditionally, and expect the same back. They expect the best of their people, and hold a high standard of decency. They are completely surprised by grumpiness in others. Yet, they are completely forgiving, should one of their humans be having a lapse into grumpiness. They don’t hold grudges, and let go of the past with a readiness that frees them up to love fully in the present. They love with all of themselves.
5). They don’t overdo, and rarely overschedule. They take time for rest and naps, and just hanging around with the people they love. They are quick to comfort in times of trial, and quick to ask for comfort if they need it themselves.
6). Most of the time they tell the truth, unless it’s a question of whether they’ve had dinner already. You usually know where you stand with them.
7). And I like to think that they have a sense deep down inside, in their warm furry selves of how much they are loved by God, perhaps a memory of the time in the garden, when all creatures bright and beautiful, great and small, wise and wonderful, walked in friendship on this sweet earth.
May we thank all our teachers of the spiritual life, as Jesus did, who listened for the heartbeat of God in everything and everybody he met, even the birds, the lilies of the field, the ravens, water, wind, fire, wellsprings, mustard seeds, mother hens and chicks, fig trees, and prodigals.