Who wrote that? I completely forgot the author's name. It will come back to me.
Anyway - what a difference a night makes.
At prayer this morning I looked at this painting on the cover of Magnificat this December. The house was still cold and it allowed me to empathize with the scene. Mary is sitting in the street - I doubt she would have - yet the image looks so lonely, Joseph being rejected by the innkeeper who must be directing him to the stable, the donkey is in the distance.
I like the painting, save for the "Camille" looking Madonna. She just wouldn't be sitting in the street like that. (As if Joseph would leave her there to get run over by a bus or something!:)
As the heat from the furnace began to warm me, I was anticipating my hot shower, sipping a hot cup of French Market. Studying the cover picture, I was so grateful to have all of this convenience. A house, a warm one now - I keep it cold at night so the kitties will sleep with me - snuggled under the down. I always thank God for the convenience of a shower, no matter the season, the milk in my coffee, even the cigarette. I don't make a show of saying grace, because I am always thanking God, except when I'm asking his forgiveness - which is just about as often. (I even thank God for days like yesterday that expose me for the curmudgeon I am.)
My luxury reminds me, everyday - throughout the day, to pray for the homeless, and those in other countries - such as Iraq, and today, the Philippines devastated by the typhoon. I always think of the kids. They are like Our Lady in this painting by Merson. Don't they look cold and lonely?
Little animals and birds - even mice - tug at my heart. I like to pray for them as well. Driving the freeway from St. Agnes on Sunday mornings, the powerlines are loaded with choirs of birds, warming themselves in the rising sun. I imagine them praying their morning office and pray with them. Although I feel guilty and a bit foolish, I'm suddenly reminded to pray for children again. And to be so grateful for what I have, as well as to be able to share it. Not just at Christmas, or during Advent and Lent - but all year long. I like to do things for others and then forget I did it - and I'm really able to do that. When I give things away, I'm very aware that it was not mine in the first place. My house isn't mine really, nor my car - I just use these things. In the end everything will be taken away anyway.
When I give things away; time, money, talent, possessions - sometimes I get a momentary 'good feeling' - it's not my intention or reason for doing it however. The feeling quickly vanishes and I really do forget about it rather soon. It's the realization that nothing is mine in the first place, everything has been a grace, a gift. Although, more than likely, I say or do something bad, and I understand that probably cancelled out any merit I may have gained. (Really, I honestly do not think of merit. I don't do things to gain indulgences or points - I leave that up to Our Lady to take care of.)
In this way I can always go to prayer empty handed, poor, just like the Madonna sitting in that cold street in Merson's painting - or more aptly, the publican in the temple, not raising his head.
Oh. Our Lady would not have had that pained, forlorn look on her face either. The paradox of poverty of spirit is this, as I mentioned in another post, and I will use the exact quote this time, and not as I imagined it to be;
"Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me." - St. John of the Cross
My bunny rabbit is sitting outside, guarding her nest, reminding me to pray.