Sunday, 10 November 2013

Little Lamb Who Made Thee?

"Little Lamb Who Made Thee?", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

Here is a new drawing of Our Lady with the Child Jesus and a lamb. The drawing is loosely based on a painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905). This is another in my series of drawings showing the Son of God as either a lamb or with a lamb. 

Lamb of God (Latin: Agnus Dei) is a title for Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John (John 1:29).  In the scene being described, John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." This description, however, was not meant to depict Our Lord as the “scapegoat” of the Old Testament, which is a person or animal subject to punishment for the sins of others without knowing it or willing it. But rather that Jesus chose to suffer at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his Father, as an "agent and servant of God" – thus this image is more related to the Paschal Lamb of Passover.

One of the better
known image of
the Good Shepherd
found in the

The lamb is one of the few Christian symbols dating from the first century, particularly, the image of the Good Shepherd carrying on His shoulders a lamb or a sheep. As well, the shepherd was sometimes shown with a lamb on His shoulders with two other sheep at his side. According to the research, the lamb or sheep on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd is a symbol of the soul of the deceased being borne by Our Lord into heaven; whereas the two sheep accompanying the Shepherd represent the saints already enjoying eternal bliss. Between the first and the fourth century eighty-eight frescoes of this type were depicted in the Roman catacombs.

However, after the conversion of Constantine and the cessation of the persecution of Christians, the basilicas that were built began to show the lamb as representing the Lamb of God, Christ Jesus. In Church and religious pictures we have all seen the Lamb carrying the cross or showing the five wounds of the crucifixion. The Book of Revelation contains numerous descriptions of this sort, portraying the Lamb of God as both the sacrifice and as the Lord enthroned and reigning over all of creation.

By the time of William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825 - 1905), many religious paintings depicted Our Lady holding a lamb in her arms, holding her Son and a lamb in her arms or holding her son with a lamb at their feet. Even though the lamb could be a reminder of such images as the Lamb of God or the Good Shepherd, by this time the lamb was no longer necessarily included as anything other than a lamb.

Although it has no bearing on this drawing, I will mention once again that whenever I see, think about or try to draw a lamb, these lines of William Blake's famous poem from his "Songs of Innocence and Experience" always comes to mind.

The Lamb 

Little Lamb who made thee 
Dost thou know who made thee 
Gave thee life and bid thee feed. 
By the stream and o'er the mead; 
Gave thee clothing of delight, 
Softest clothing woolly bright; 
Gave thee such a tender voice, 
Making all the vales rejoice! 

Little Lamb who made thee 
Dost thou know who made thee 
Little Lamb I'll tell thee, 
Little Lamb I'll tell thee! 
He is called by thy name, 
For he calls himself a Lamb: 
He is meek and he is mild, 
He became a little child: 
I a child and thou a lamb, 
We are called by his name. 
Little Lamb God bless thee. 
Little Lamb God bless thee.

*Certain parts of the above information came either from Wikipedia or the Catholic Encyclopedia.


Recently, I have received several requests for permission to use some of the icons I have drawn.  One such request was from the pastor of a Lutheran church in Kansas.  As always, I asked that I be sent a copy of the finished product.  Thus, in Friday's mail, I received a copy of their church bulletin from the Sunday after All Saints.  The following image if of the back cover of that bulletin.

Back cover of the bulletin of a Lutheran Church in Kansas.  This bulletin was for
the Sunday following the Feast of All Saints, November 1, 2013 



Suki in one of her favourite chairs!
Well, this week, I can combine most of what is happening with me with the story of what is happening with Suki!

At the beginning of this past week, the arthritis in my spine began to bother me quite a lot. I tried sleeping in my bed as usual, but I was unable to get comfortable due to the pain. Even trying to arrange all sorts of pillows to support my back did not accomplish anything.

Finally, I decided to see if my recliner would give my back the support it needed so that I could get some sleep.  The only problem with this idea was that the recliner had been moved into the living room to make more space available in my bedroom.  While there was plenty of room in the living room for the recliner, I had not placed it far enough from the wall so that it could be "reclined" to the full extent.  

So, there I was at about midnight moving furniture around in my living room!  Really that sounds worse than it was as I only had to move the coffee table up close to the couch and then pull the recliner out from the wall, making sure not to bunch up the area rug.  This, of course, did not make my back feel any better, but I was desperate by this time for something relatively comfortable so that I could get to sleep!

Finally, all was in place.  I had a throw from the couch to put over my feet and legs and so I settled myself in the recliner, pushing it all the way back.  Suddenly, I felt the pain easing from my back as the recliner gave me support in just the right places.  With a prayer of gratitude to God on my lips, I quickly fell asleep.

Suki, meanwhile, had observed all my antics with a certain look of displeasure.  First of all, she greatly dislikes the movement of any furniture as that denotes change and change is anathema to Suki. As well, Suki has become really fond of spending the night in the bedroom as she is able to stretch out fully on the body pillow on my bed.  Not only is this very comfortable, but from this position, she is able to reach out with her paw and pat my face gently when she has decided that it is time for her first meal of the morning -- usually around 4 a.m.

Since I was exhausted, I had paid little attention to Suki other than to say: "Goodnight Suki, wherever you are!" just as I was falling asleep.  So I was not prepared for what was to follow.

It seemed just moments after I had fallen asleep that I was awakened by Suki perched on the recliner just above my head.  It wasn't her being there that had awakened me, rather it was the fact that she was trying to wash my scalp with her scratchy tongue! With one quick move I grabbed her and pulled her down onto my chest.  With hardly a thought as to what condition my hair might be in the morning, I quickly fell back to sleep.

Suki must have stayed there on my chest for quite some time or else she managed to move very gently as I slept soundly.  I was not awakened again until about 4 a.m.  This time I was gradually awakened by a strange brushing sound.  At first I had tried to ignore the sound in my sleep by dreaming it away and then, after awakening, I tried to actually ignore the sound and just return to sleep.  As many of you know, however, I still have excellent hearing and cannot ignore a sound of unknown origin, no matter how faint it may be.

I knew, of course, that it must be Suki up to some mischief.  So, I tried calling her name and telling her to stop whatever she was doing.  This did not work.  The sound continued just as before. Finally, I realized that I was going to have to get up, find Suki and stop her from doing whatever it was that she was doing!

As I brought the recliner upright, I begin looking in the direction from which the noise seemed to be coming.  At first I couldn't see anything as I had only turned on a small table lamp for light. Gradually, as I looked more closely, I begin to make out the outline of one very black cat sitting directly under the lamp table.  

I could see that Suki was just lying there but the noise was continuing.  Then, in the dim light, I noticed one front paw moving ever so slightly.  She was gently swinging the electrical cord from the lamp.  This slight movement caused a brushing, scratching sound as the cord moved again the wall.  That was all that was happening and Suki was lying there, looking very pleased with herself.

I begin to say some rather unpleasant things to her; however, she appeared not to notice.  Instead, she stretched and began to walk slowly towards the kitchen.  I stood there, amazed at the cheek of this cat.  My first thought was to simply refuse to feed her and to return to my "bed"; however, I knew from long experience with this cat that this plan would not work.  So, I gave in, went into the kitchen and fed her!  I know when I am beaten.

Once Suki was fed, she settled done in the chair opposite me and, after a bit of washing up, went directly to sleep!  I returned to the recliner, tried to settle myself in once again and, thankfully, was able to get another few hours of sleep.  What a cat!

So, now you know about my back problems.  I am, of course, still dealing with all the other issues that are presently afflicting me, but most of them seem to be, momentarily, under control.  There are several concerns that are presently being looked into, but since I don't really know anything new at this point, I will just save any comments until later.

My biggest disappointment these days is that one of these issues is keeping me from being able to go to the gym each day.  I am really hoping that I will feel better this coming week as I miss my workouts. Thankfully, I am still able to spend a bit of time each day doing my art.

So, I come to the end of another posting.  Before long, people from St. Michael's Cathedral will be coming to bring me Our Lord in Holy Communion.  This is the high point of my week.  As I receive the Sacred Host, I will be praying that all those people who will read this blog in the days ahead will be greatly blessed and find the joy and love that we all desire.  May the peace of God be with you. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's a cat to do when she's hungry even if it is 4am?