Sunday, 17 March 2013

Our Lady of Good Comfort

Icon "Our Lady of Good Comfort", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013
In an effort to find comfort when the days get difficult and the ongoing physical problems seem almost overwhelming, I turn, as so many millions have throughout the centuries, to Our Lady, Blessed Mary.  This icon, which I am calling "Our Lady of Good Comfort" (I just gave it that name as comfort was what I was seeking during the creation of it) is very special to me.  The reason why is that during the time I was working on it, I kept "pretending" that Jesus was asking me to join Him in His mother's embrace. 

Wonderfully, every so often I did feel comforted as I almost imagined myself into Blessed Mary's arms -- for just a moment, now and then, I really felt that everything was going to be all right some day before too much longer.  Why is it often so difficult for us to really believe the promises of God when He has proved Himself in our lives over and over again?



Our new Holy Father shown after he had asked the crowd at St. Peter's to pray for him before he gave them his blessing
 As I was telling my friend, Eugene, earlier this past week, this is a very exciting time in the Church -- but it is also a time of great uncertainty.  Our new Holy Father is not going to be predictable.  He has definite ideas and we will just have to see how he develops them over time.  Thus far, I have been deeply moved by a number of the things Pope Francis has said and am full of hope for the future of the Church.

Cimabue's St. Francis showing something of the REAL St. Francis
 I would recommend that we all find a good account of the life of St. Francis to read (or re-read).  Our new Holy Father has taken the name of Francis because of St. Francis' love for the poor, his love of Lady Poverty.  The "poor man of Assisi" was not some kind of flower child or environmental activist.  He was a radical follower of Christ who truly took the promises of Jesus at face value.  One book I can recommend is G. K. Chesterton's Life of St. Francis.



It is difficult to believe that a little over three months from now Braden will be 1 year old!

Isn't he just the cutest thing?  (The correct answer is "yes"!)



Bad cat

 Suki, as my friend, Joycelyn, would say, is a "real piece of work"!  Let me tell you what happened Thursday morning and you will understand why I am saying that.

Early Thursday morning, I had awakened (with a bit of help from Suki) around 5:30.  The first thing I did after arising was to feed Suki in order to turn off her "meow mouth" -- which was going non-stop at that point.  After feeding her, I set about getting a bit of caffeine into me and then preparing to pray Office of Readings using my iPad app.

I was setting up my iPad so it could listen to the Office while I had my beverage.  The easiest place to put it in the living room is on the shelf of the room divider.  As I set about doing this, I noticed that Suki had finished her breakfast and seemed to be feeling very frisky, running around and stopping every so often to chase her tail.  Thinking nothing of it, however, I proceeded setting up the iPad. 

Suddenly, I see Suki running along the back of the sofa and I realize that she is going too fast to stop.  Instead, she does something she never normally does -- she tries to jump from the sofa onto the shelf where I am getting the iPad ready.  Her jump is too far and off balance.  The next thing I know, Suki falls back to the floor but in doing so, she hits a decorative candlestick which in turn hits my beautiful blue vase.  Everything falls.  As I watch this happen, it seems as though time has slowed down for a second, but then the crashing of the heavy glass vase to the floor quickly brings me out of that sensation.  I listen as the vase breaks into hundreds of pieces.

I yell at Suki -- as though that is going to do any good at this point -- but she has already disappeared into the bedroom.  Then, all is quiet.  I survey the mess, dreading the work that is before me and saddened by the loss of the beautiful object.  After a moment, I dismiss the sadness and inertia and get the broom, dustpan, mop, etc. and start the process of trying to get all those tiny pieces of glass off the floor and into the garbage.
The vase that was.

Here is a photo of what the shelf used to look like and you can clearly see the blue vase.  It wasn't an expensive vase, but it was the colour of blue which I enjoyed so much.  Even after having it in my possession for the past 15 years, I still found joy in looking at that vase -- especially when the afternoon sun would shine on it as it came through the living room windows.

 Ah, well, all things are passing.

Otherwise, I am doing much the same.  My eyes are slowly healing.  One side seems to be healing nicely, but the other side continues to be problematic.  I can only continue to hope that both sides will eventually heal completely.

I try not to look at myself in the mirror unless it is absolutely necessary.  Instead, I seek to keep my thoughts elsewhere -- listening to books and attempting to keep doing my art whenever my eyes are not weeping so much.  It is really just impossible to see clearly when your eyes stay full of tears!

Please keep praying for me.

One of the things I read recently which has occupied my thoughts and prayers is the following quote from C. S. Lewis:

Finally, not to forget whose feast day it is....  St. Patrick, please pray for us

Icon "St. Patrick" by the hand
of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
(from St. Patrick's Breastplate)

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