Lent thoughts -Peace

Cats have been on my mind this past weekend. A friend whose cat died recently mourns her loss. Another friend is moving house and her cats are anxiously sitting in the packing boxes. And Rita Kitten decided my lap was the best place to be yesterday afternoon until my legs went numb.

Imagine my delight, then, when today’s Lent reading took me to Janet Morley’s book ‘the heart’s time’ and this poem by DH Lawrence.

Pax

All that matters is to be at one with the living God
to be a creature in the house of the God of Life.

Like a cat asleep on a chair
at peace, in peace
and at one with the master of the house, with the mistress,
at home, at home in the house of the living,
sleeping on the hearth, and yawning before the fire.

Sleeping on the hearth of the living world
yawning at home before the fire of life
feeling the presence of the living God
like a great reassurance
a deep calm in the heart
a presence
as of the master sitting at the board
in his own and greater being,
in the house of life.

Morley goes on to talk about the ‘profound relaxation of the cat before the hearth’ being about contemplation and being fully present in the presence of God and of the present moment. ‘To anyone who has watched a cat extend its whole body in ecstatic sleep, exposing the fur of its impossibly long belly to the warmth of an open fire, the image is compelling. It is the antithesis of any sort of hunched-up fearful prayer; rather the animal arches itself to experience the greatest possible pleasure from the presence of the fire. It may not understand what causes the warmth it enjoys, but it intends to receive maximum advantage from this source of life.’

I look at Rita Kitten now, curled up not stretched out, and envy her peacefulness. She has no To-Do list. No worries or concerns about phone calls to be made. No emails to answer, no preparations to be made for this or that… She twitches an ear towards the sound of children playing outside and decides she can’t be bothered going to hiss at them through the window. Better to just stay cosy and be. Food will come, she is sure of it.

Today I wish to be more like a cat.

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Revenge? Justice? Only love will do.

I’m more than a little uneasy about the celebrations surrounding Osama bin Laden’s death. This quote from Martin Luther King comes to my mind:

16 August 1967
Where Do We Go From Here?

Delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention, Atlanta, Ga.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr  Martin Luther King, Jr

Peace be with you

A letter to the Daily Telegraph from The Rev Ken Francis, Cornwall:

‘I am afraid that dropping to one’s knees in prayer during the ‘Peace’ seldom works. I’ve tried it on many occasions. Peace devotees are a breed not to be thwarted: they pat you on the back, pat your head – or bend down and breathe unctious murmurings in your ear.
I am wondering about a water pistol.’

What on earth is so bad about shaking someone’s hand and saying “Peace be with you”?

But I’ve always fancied introducing water pistols at Easter for when we renew our baptismal vows.