How cats answer prayers

First published at the Episcopal Cafe

The other day, I opened the front door of the church and a cat I had never met before walked in. I bid her welcome. She meowed.

For the next hour, she was my shadow. I had to tread carefully to avoid tripping over her, she stayed so close to me. Having small company lightened my footsteps.

I had, I confess, been having a dreadful afternoon, by which I don’t mean that anything horrifying had happened, but that I was buckling under that dull burden of dread which accompanies winter in the northern hemisphere: the lack of brightness, the dismal disbelief that sows doubt about the eventual return of spring.

We finished up the work I had to do in my office, then set off for the sacristy to set up for evening service. We ended up for a little while on the chapel floor, beneath the benevolent eye of Jesus, purring, and I reflected that when our saviour was humanity incarnate, there must have been moments when he was unable to move, or shout, or sneeze for fear of waking a cat that had taken up residence in his lap. These things happen.

When the first person arrived for service, the cat greeted him with a polite leg rub, then showed herself out. I saw her once more as I drove out of the parking lot later, sitting under the porch light, watching me leave.

Now, I know that I have a weakness for whimsy, but there was something about that cat. She had a flash on her forehead that was the exact colour of the sand in the Jordan desert. She arrived as though in answer to prayer, and stayed until she left. She watched over my going out, and for all I know my coming back in.

If it is possible for the Holy Spirit to inhabit a dove’s form, or to inspire the formation of a flock of geese, why not send a small cat as a messenger of hope, comfort, warmth on a cold midwinter’s afternoon, her desert colours proof against the dying of the light?

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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2 Responses to How cats answer prayers

  1. Pam Thompson says:

    Have you seen the kitty since this post?

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