Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Saint Sarah - 2

Icon, St. Sarah, Wife of Abraham, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009, revision 2012

Back in 2009 I wrote the following under a draft of an icon of St. Sarah I was working on:
"[This] is my attempt to draw an image representing St. Sarah (as the Orthodox call her), wife of Abraham. Sarah was an old, old woman when she became pregnant for the first and only time, fulfilling the prophecy of God. Her son was named Isaac and it is from Isaac that the Jewish people claim themselves descended. Christians tend to claim for themselves the same lineage. [As many of you know, Muslims also claim St. Abraham as their father in faith, but not of his son, Isaac but of Abraham's previous son born of Sarah's slave woman, Ishmael.]  At any rate, I am drawn to the story of St. Sarah because she is my patron. There is no feast day for St. Sarah in the Catholic calendar, but the Orthodox celebrate her feast on August 19th. Interestingly, that was the date my father died in 1991." 
I reflected on these comments as I revised this icon after all these years -- in preparation for the feast which was last Sunday.  I thought again of how strange it is that the feast day of my patron is the same date as my father's death.  This man whose actions I have spent a lifetime trying to come to terms with -- trying to forgive.  I am not sure of the significance of these two things occurring on the same date, but I continue to puzzle over the meaning -- if any.

Icon, Amma Sarah of the Desert, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

 Over the years of researching icons and saints, both Catholic and Orthodox, I have become acquainted with Amma Sarah, one of the so-called Desert Mothers of the early Church.  These women, like their male counterparts, left the corrupt Roman culture behind and went to the desert where they lived in solitude -- praying, fasting, doing penance for the salvation of souls.  These early hermits eventually formed into loosely-knit communities which in turn gradually developed into what became eventually the rich tradition of monasticism -- the tradition that preserved the Scriptures and the teachings of the Faith during the Dark Ages.  The Spirit always prepares us beforehand for whatever darkness the Church will be facing next so never lose hope in these turbulent times.

Sarah of the Desert's sayings indicate that she was a hermit living by the River Nile for sixty years. Her sharp replies to some of the old men who challenged her show a distinctly strong personality. She said to them, ‘I put out my foot to ascend the ladder, and I place death before my eyes before going up it.’

Amma Sarah also said, "If I prayed God that all people should approve of my conduct, I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall rather pray that my heart may be pure toward all." St. Sarah is one of the few women to be included in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Her feast day among the Orthodox is July 13.

St. Sarah, wife of Abraham, pray for us.
Amma Sarah of the Desert, pray for us.



Braden has had a difficult week, it seems.  He is recovering after a little surgical procedure and according to recent reports from his mom, he is recovering with difficulty, but he is recovering.  Poor Braden.  He is beginning the process of learning about the painful parts of living.  Ah, well...

"Hey, you have a nose just like mine only bigger!  How did that happen?"

"Mom, who was that bearded man, anyway?"  He looks familiar!"


Impossible not to read this sign, isn't it?  To what do you think this sign is referring?

I guess the sign maker did not know the proper name of those "long, yellow things"!

Is there an hidden message here, do you think?

The perfect way to get rid of that unwanted baby sister!



Suki, shortly before 11 a.m.
and foolishly unconcerned!
 Today was the day for testing the building's fire alarm system.  Signs had been put up throughout the building and on the elevators.  I had seen them and warned Suki about it, but, as usual, she just turned over and went back to sleep.

WELL... 11 o'clock arrived and soon after the fire alarm sounded.  (By the way, this has got to be one of the world's loudest, most annoying fire alarms!).  Suki had been sleeping on the back of the wing-back chair in the living room while I was working at the computer in the bedroom.  When the alarm sounded, I stopped what I was doing and sat back to watch events unfold.  Within seconds here comes Suki travelling at super speed -- her feet barely touching the floor -- heading straight for the bedroom closet.  Knowing this would happen, I had very kindly opened the door just a small amount so that she would have easy access.  In she went and I could hear her crawling into her box.  Although I didn't look, I assume she probably stuck her head under one of the old sweaters with which she has padded her box.

After about 15 minutes, the alarm stopped and I knew the drill was over.  Suki, however, stayed where she was.  I think loud sounds like that really frighten her, leaving her exhausted. 

The hours passed.  I went to the gym, came home, got cleaned up and into my house clothes and Suki stayed in the closet.  Finally, about a half hour ago, I hear sounds of movement coming from the closet and here comes Suki.  She was meowing loudly as she was obviously hungry not having eaten since breakfast.  Although I told her that she would now have to wait until I finished what I was doing (my blog), she was determined.  She tried climbing all over me, purring loudly.  When this did not appear to be working, she just sat and stared at me.  She has now gone and sat herself down in the chair nearby where she waits for the slightest sign from me that I might be headed for the kitchen.

As for me, I am preparing to move very cautiously towards the kitchen when the time comes or else that crazy cat is bound to trip me in her excitement.  I have not actually fallen now for many months and I do not want to "break" my current record of staying upright.

Today has been a very good day for me -- not like yesterday.  Somehow, I forgot to take my pain medication yesterday morning -- the pills for my spine and the related pain from that as well as the anti-inflammatory that enables me to keep moving my joints.  Well, by last evening, I could barely move and was uncomfortable sitting or standing.  I couldn't figure it out until I finally noticed my morning pills still sitting there in the container!  At that point I had to try to figure out what I could take so that I did not mess up my evening pills.  Fortunately, by the time I went to bed, I was starting to feel a little less like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz!  This morning I was very careful to take the required medication and was able to go to the gym as usual.  It has been a good day.

Otherwise, things are fine. 

Suki Alert!!!  Suki has just gotten out of the chair and is starting to try to climb on to me again.  I guess I had better just give in and feed the poor kitty.

May the peace of God be with us all.

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