Julian, on New Year's Eve
Originally uploaded by jacsongs.
Here's our favorite feline, resting up in preparation for the evening's festivities. You see her curled in one of her favorite warm places.
You gotta walk that lonesome valleyThe Reverend is described as a man who appears to be "tough and mean," yet proves himself to be a man of peace. A lumberjack comes into the meeting house one day, cursing the church people up one aisle and down the other. He ends up at the front, and cusses right in the Rev. Black’s face. Then the lumberjack hits the preacher.
You gotta walk it by yourself
Nobody here can walk it for you
You gotta walk it by yourself.
There's a road that leads to gloryJesus points one way: keep walking, no matter what. Walk with honor and integrity, not for praise, but because that’s who you are. I believe Padre’s life carries much the same lesson, for he also sought to walk with honor and integrity — even after melancholy consumed him.
Thru a valley far away
Nobody else can walk it for you
They can only point the way
Calling in sick to work makes me uncomfortable. No matter how legitimate my excuse, I always get the feeling that my boss thinks I'm lying. On one recent occasion, I had a valid reason but lied anyway, because the truth was just too darned humiliating. I simply mentioned that I had sustained a head injury, and hoped I would feel up to coming in the next day. By then, I reasoned, I could think up a doozey to explain the bandage on the top of my head. The accident occurred mainly because I had given in to my wife's wishes to adopt a cute little kitty. Initially, the new acquisition was no problem. Then one morning I was taking my shower when I hear my wife call out to me from the kitchen. "Honey, the garbage disposal is dead again, Please come reset it."Brother Dave reminded me of our fabled male cat, Sam, who would hide under the bed then attack a person's ankles when that person was least expecting it.
"You know where the button is," I protested through the shower door. "Reset it yourself." "But I'm scared of that thing" she persisted.
"What if it starts going and sucks me in or something?" There was a meaningful pause and then, "Please, it'll only take you a second."
Out I came, dripping wet and buck naked, hoping that my silent outraged nudity would make a statement about how I perceived her behavior as extremely cowardly. Sighing loudly, I squatted down and stuck my head under the sink to find the button. It is the last action I remember performing. It struck without warning, and without any respect to my circumstances. No, it wasn't the hexed disposal, drawing me into its gnashing metal teeth. It was our new kitten, who discovered the fascinating dangling objects hanging between my legs. She had been poised around the corner and stalked me as I reached under the sink. At the precise moment when I was most vulnerable, she leapt at the toys I unwittingly offered and snagged them with her needle-like claws. I lost all rational thought concerning the control of orderly bodily movements, blindly rising at a violent rate of speed, with the full weight of a kitten hanging from my masculine region. Wild animals are sometimes faced with the 'fight or flight' syndrome. Men, in this predicament, choose only the flight option. Do NOT try to fight a kitten hanging on for dear life! I was fleeing straight up into the air when the sink and cabinet bluntly and forcefully impeded my ascent. The impact knocked me out cold. When I awoke, my wife and the paramedics stood over me. Now there are not many things in life worse than finding oneself lying on the kitchen floor, buck naked, in front of a group of 'been-there done-that' paramedics trying to suppress their hysterical laughter - and not succeeding. A few days later I made it back to the office, where my colleagues tried to coax an explanation out of me about my head injury. I kept silent, claiming it was too painful to talk about. Which it was!
"What's the matter?" asked one smart alec. "Cat got your tongue?"
IF THEY ONLY KNEW!
I have been slain a thousand times, but I have risen again. These old wounds are the source of my power and my insight. ... our greatest and worst enemies are not the monsters who roam the forest or even wicked witches or evil wizards. No, it is our scars, our wounds and old injuries that we must fear...Life wounds us in a number of ways. We have only hints of how Jesus may have been wounded prior to his passion, but there is no denying the severity of wounds he received within 24 hours.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.I've long thought of this in two parts (as presented here): the first half is Biblical, repeating words spoken, respectively, by Gabriel and Mary's cousin Elizabeth. The second half is more problematic, as it calls Mary both Holy and Mother of God. This may be the statement that gives people the mistaken belief that Roman Catholics are praying to Mary.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.I've come pretty close to giving myself writer's block trying to write something about this, the third Living Mystery. Everything I come up with seems stale:
Mt 4:23-24 (NRSV) (emphasis added)
Mary and Joseph sent Jesus to a local rabbi to be tutored. At their first meeting, the rabbi asked Jesus to recite the Hebrew alphabet. Jesus replies that he will recite the alphabet if the rabbi will tell him the meaning of aleph, beth, gimel, and so on. In one version of this story, the rabbi spanks Jesus for his insolence. The hand which had performed the spanking withered, as if in a fire. However, when the rabbi repented the action, the boy restored the hand.This story is similar to an idea I've had brewing for a few years: that the dialogue between the boy Jesus and the learned men was little more than questions. This is often the case in the canon — frequently, Jesus will say "I'll answer that question if you'll answer this one." It's also part of Talmudic tradition, which would have been germinating around this time (if not slightly earlier). Indeed, the learned men may have been amazed at the perception reflected in Jesus' questions, and how he was able to hold his own. That is, they may have been impressed at how long he was able to continue asking questions without ever making his own position or opinion clear.
Here's a shot of Dame Julian I took last night, run through Photoshop's watercolor filter. I also did a little work erasing a certain human's hand, using the stamp tool.
Fair warning: later this morning, there will be an additional cat image, with text along the lines of "things I've learned from my cat."