We’ve had a lot of cats while we’ve been living in Ireland. There are lots of feral cats roaming the countryside looking for some sap to feed them or to adopt their kittens. At one point we had four under our roof. They were probably all related because they could tolerate and even enjoy each other’s company. They would all sit on the kitchen window sill waiting to be let inside, then, when we opened the back door they would all run in to their food bowls like they were on rails:
They would also cuddle up in one basket at nap time (unfortunately I don’t have a photo with all four together):
We currently have three cats under our roof, and another who comes for food but won’t let us touch him. Sadly, they hate each other. They turn to us for cuddles instead. Strangely, but conveniently, they have each chosen different people as their special property. Minnie has always been devoted to my husband:
Next came Tiger who adopted me:
Then came Marshmallow who chose my daughter, who chose her unusual name:
And last of all – king of the garden:
Introductions over, I’d like to share an insight I had whilst watching the cats. As I said, these cats hate each other. It makes living with them quite difficult at times, and it makes them quite jumpy. Anyway, earlier on, I was trying to persuade Tiger that he could go back to sleep while I dealt with the post which had just dropped through the door and startled him. The thing is the cats don’t trust us enough. We want them to know that we have their best interests at heart but there’s no way to communicate that to them. From their point of view we’re quite unsatisfactory hosts. We’re slow to give them what they want, and even when we respond we often get it wrong. “No, I don’t want fish today!” We put them out in all weathers. Occasionally, we even hurt them; trapping a tail or treading on a paw. We’ve let invading cats into their domain, or, in Marshmallow’s case, we’ve introduced them into an environment that already belongs to someone else. If they trusted us we could minimise their contact with the other cats. But because they’d rather travel through the house on their own terms they’re constantly evading us and running up against the other cats. Whoever suggested the term “herding cats” for an impossible task was spot on.
So, it struck me, that this is somewhat analogous to our relationship with God. I’m sure that if we could trust God more it would make our lives a lot easier. He’s tried to communicate His great love and care for us through Revelation and by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for us. But we’d rather try to rely on our own feeble powers than to trust in the care of Our Heavenly Father. And that’s probably because His care can be baffling at times. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need and sometimes He allows bad things to happen to us. We don’t trust Him enough to realise that He sees the bigger picture, that He is helping us to grow and flourish. So from now on I’m going to try to be less like a cat and more like a dog when it comes to trust. How about you?
I had the very great good fortune to be able to travel to Limerick this weekend for a Pontifical Mass with Cardinal Burke. It was all very beautiful but I deliberately didn’t take photos or videos. Some experiences are best had first-hand, don’t you think? Instead here’s a limerick I knocked up for you:
There once was a woman from Wales,
Met a cardinal and all that entails;
His ring she did kiss,
Then knelt to be blessed,
That fortunate woman from Wales
Here’s a photo of the view from my hotel room
and a photo of a bendy bus (and some cute little people) I took for someone who’s never seen one.
And here is a short video of Cardinal Burke giving some advice for Catholic parents:
On this Feast of St Raphael the Healer, I share my reply to an email that came from my old Buddhist community (sangha) after several years of silence:
Mantillas are head-coverings traditionally worn by Catholic women when praying in public. You will see plenty of them at a traditional Latin Mass for example. It used to be mandatory (not just customary) for women to cover their heads in church, and conversely for men to bare theirs.
I have fairly long hair now and the commercially-produced mantilla I bought isn’t big enough to cover it all. I’ve been wanting to make my own larger one for a while. I started to crochet one but I ran out of yarn. I’ve found some more yarn now so I started a new one. However, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the edges of the motifs worked when joined together so I’ve modified it slightly. Four of the old motifs are shown joined together on the right of the photo below and four of the new ones on the left. See below for the instructions.
Here goes (UK notation):
6 ch, ss in 1st chain to form a ring. Now the rounds:
- 12 dc in ring, join with a ss to 1st dc.
- 5 ch, miss 1st dc, [1 tr in next dc, 2ch] 11 times, ss in 3rd of 5 ch.
- ss in 1st sp, 3 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 3 tr in same sp as ss, yrh, draw through all 4 lps [5 ch, leaving last lp of each st on hook work 4 tr in next sp, yrh, draw through all 5 lps] 11 times, 2 ch, 1 tr in top of 1st cluster.
- *7 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp, [5 ch, ss in next 5-ch sp] 3 times, rep from * twice except instead of last 5ch make 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.
- [*7 ch, 1 tr in centre ch of next 7-ch sp, 14 ch, 1 tr in top of last tr, 1 tr in centre ch of same 7-ch sp as before, 7 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp*, 5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, work from * to *, 2 ch, 1 tr in 1st of 7 ch at beg of round.
- *5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp, 5ch, 8 tr in 14-ch sp (optional – work the 8th tr into the 7th ch), 6 ch, ss in top of last tr, 8 tr in same 14-ch sp (optional – work the 1st tr into the 8th ch), [5 ch, ss in centre ch of next 5-ch sp] twice, rep from * twice working last ss into 1st of 5 ch at beg of round. Fasten off.
Sorry for any errors.
If you have any love for me, you must keep the commandments which I give you; and then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another to befriend you, one who is to dwell continually with you forever.
I love you, Jesus, my love above all things. I regret with my whole heart of having offended you. Never let me separate myself from you again. Grant that I may love you always and then do with me what you will.
The Irish people have voted to remove the recognition of the unborn’s right to life from their constitution. I have no more words.
Where Thou art not, man hath nought
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew,
On our dryness pour Thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray
See here for a Pentecost sermon about Ireland as it approaches a dreaded referendum.