The Prophesy of the Book.
My Angel Malachi.
The Lord Who Sees You.
The Cup Of The Water Of Paradise.
The Hidden Presence.
The Lord is Your Guardian.
The Shore of Heaven.
At the Crossroads.
The Lord's' Vagabond.
Your Eye is on the Sparrow.
Words of Wisdom from Heaven.
As it was in the Days of Noah…therefore, Stay Awake.
God the Savior of Those in Distress.
"Lo! How a Rose E'er Blooming".
Therefore, If Anyone Is In Christ, He Is A New Creation;
The Old Has Gone, The New Has Come!
Things Never Happen the Same Way Twice.
Jesus, Master, Have Pity On Us!
The Gate of Heaven.
Blessed be God in His Angels and Saints.
Jesus, I trust in You.
You Satisfy the Hungry Heart.
One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
The Butterfly Coat.
Saint Patrick’s Breast-Plate.
The Good Shepherd.
His Rod and His Staff They Comfort Me.
The All Knowing and Ever Present God.
The Still Small Voice.
Sing a New Song Unto The Lord.
The Servant of God.
Until Death Do Us Part.
I Will Answer Them.
Lost and Found.
The Household of Faith.
The Beggar of Heaven.
To Let Go and Let God.
Give her the Rosary.
The Road to Emmaus.
Yom Asal; Yom Basal.
Walking by Faith.
The Family of Christ.
SONGS & LYRICS
DREAMS & VISIONS
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The Shore of Heaven.
One day in
early September 2008 I drove my daughters to
their American International School. This
English speaking school is located about 45
minutes drive from the Arab town where we were
living at that time. Usually my husband would
drive the girls to school on the way to his
office and I would go to pick them after school
and bring them home to our little apartment.
That morning for some reason I had to drive them
to school. Since it was a rather lengthy commute
I just didn't feel like simply turning around
and driving another 45 minutes straight back to
an empty apartment. Since I didn't speak Arabic
and the way of life and traditions of this
Muslim village were so different than where I
had come from in America that I was feeling at
that time a profound sense of isolation. Even
though I had not yet made any local friends I
knew that my best friend Jesus is always with me
and never leaves my side.
behold, I am with you always, until the end of
"…I will never
forsake you or abandon you."
After dropping the girls off
at their school I drove to one of the nearby
beaches. I had planned to walk and talk with my
best Friend in such a beautiful setting and I
knew that He would surely lift my spirit.
I followed along the coastal road and
found an entrance to a beach south of the city
of Netanya. It was early in the morning and the
sun was still low in the sky rising in the east.
There was plenty of shade if one walked in the
shadows cast by the high craggy cliffs that ran
along the coast. It is still quite hot in early
September in Israel so I wore a one piece
bathing suit under my shorts but no tee-shirt on
top. I had brought with me my sunglasses, a
baseball cap and my hip pouch holding the car
keys and my wallet but I failed to take along
suntan lotion. I was thinking that it was not
needed for a walk so early in the morning. I
began walking southward in the shade of the
cliffs praying and rejoicing in the Lord.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall
say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be
known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety
at all, but in everything by prayer and petition
with thanksgiving make your requests known to
God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all
understanding will guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus."
Jesus filled my soul with such heights
of joy, delight and peace that I wanted to
continue walking with Him endlessly on that
beach…I felt as though I was walking along the
Shore of Heaven.
Time was passing and
the sun was rising higher in the sky and the
shade provided by the cliffs was now gone. I
felt heat of the hot sun on my back and realized
that I had made a mistake. I should have brought
the suntan lotion! I knew that if I kept on
walking under the sun with Jesus I would surely
As with a lover during a time of
deep intimacy you want the moment to last
eternally, to remain in each others embrace
forever. You don't want to rush off somewhere
else or that anything or anyone should interrupt
your time together. So in an outburst of love, I
said to the Divine Lover of our souls, "O,
Jesus, I love you so very much! I would gladly
burn for you!" I would keep walking and being
with Him as in that moment nothing on earth
mattered. I walked a pace or two forwards and a
wave washed over my feet and with it washed up a
bottle of Dr. Fisher UV 30 sun block suntan
lotion! ! "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
I was utterly amazed!
When the disciples saw this, they
at them and said, "With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible."
I picked it up
the worn bottle in amazement and awe. There was
just enough lotion left in it to rub all over
the exposed areas of my body.
the Lord for His kindness and care, we walked on
together uninterrupted for some time longer
until I arrived at a public beach area. It had a
nice outdoor restaurant and I decided to have
lunch there. My waiter attended me warmly and
courteously. My joy from being in the Presence
of the Lord and my delight over His graciousness
to provide for me in such a mysterious and
surprising way could not be contained. I could
not help but invite the man to hear of the
wonder that Our Lord had just done. Eli, whose
name was Valerie before he immigrated to Israel
from the Ukraine was captivated by the account.
He dropped to his knees at the side of my table
and remained there for half an hour and we
He told me he was seeking
the true meaning of life. I witnessed to him the
love God has for him for more than half an hour.
He told me that he had already left everything
material, including a successful business, to
begin his search for the truth and that is why
at this precise moment I had found him humbly
serving tables. I thanked him for his gracious
service to me. As I departed from him, I
encouraged Eli on his journey to seek with all
his heart the One who is Truth and who loves him
just as He loves me.
For I know well
the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord,
plans for your welfare, not your woe! Plans to
give you a future full of hope. When you look
for me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen
to you. When you look for me, you will find me.
Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you
will find me with you, says the Lord…
Jesus said to
him, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me."
At the Crossroads.
One evening a few weeks ago, I took a walk with Jesus on the farm roads adjacent to my town of Even Yehuda. After having spent about a half an hour in prayer with Our Lord, I glanced behind me and noticed that a young Israeli father with his two boys had come onto the same road. His baby was on a child seat on the back of his bike and his other young son was trying to push his own small bicycle alongside his father. They had entered into an area of this farm road where the red sandy earth was very deep and they could not continue to ride on their bikes. They had got off of them to push. The young son had become frustrated with the effort and had dropped his bike to the ground and was seated next to it resisting with loud whining in Hebrew his father's urges to him to get up again and keep pushing.
I viewed this scene from a short distance from the top of an incline of the road where it turns out of sight. Looking ahead from that vantage point I could see that the road led deeper into the farmland and I could not see an exit from there. I determined it was time to go home and so I turned back. As I approached the family, the father asked if the road ahead which was hidden from view around the bend would lead them to the adjacent town where they lived. I answered that I was not sure as I could see no clear path leading there. So I encouraged them to turn back and head for home as it was dusk and the light was quickly fading. I told them that the sand on the road ahead was even deeper than where we were at present and even should there be an exit from there which led into their village his young son would have even more difficulty in pushing his bike. Having said this, I continued on my way walking past the family in the direction of my neighborhood. At the "T" in the road where I would turn away to the right and out of their sight, I heard a strange command as if someone were speaking inside my head, "Do not look back!"
What? Why would I think such a thing? I didn't think that! What is happening? Night was falling fast and it was getting dark. I sensed that this was not my own thought but was instead a temptation – an evil temptation from the prince of darkness, from his realm.
"…but this is your hour, the time for the power of darkness."
"Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith…"
(1st Peter 5:8)
Ignoring this unholy voice, I turned around and saw that the father was having great difficulty. He was trying to push at the same time in the deep sand his young son's small bike with his left hand and his own large bike with his right with his baby seated on the back. His bike was nearly toppled over with the child dangling precariously out of his seat towards the ground. I ran back to assist him grabbing his young son's small bike from his hands and encouraging the boy to get up and walk along side his father who was now steadying his own large bike and securing his baby safely his child seat. We walked together until the red earth of the farm road was again hard and smooth. The father thanked me for the quick rescue and I parted from them at the 'T" in the road where they turned to the left and I to the right to go our separate ways. As I waved them farewell in the dark dusk of the evening the Lord brought immediately to my mind another time ten years ago when I was at the most important "T" crossroad of my own life and when the evil one made a last desperate attempt to tempt and divert me from following the straight and narrow path to the Source of all Good.
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few."
"Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)
New Orleans 1999
It was December 1999 when I went to New Orleans with my husband who was attending a business convention there over the first weekend of December. I could never have anticipated what I would experience there. Ever since an extraordinary mystical experience which took place unexpectedly in the town of St. Francis – Assisi, Italy in 1994 while on a routine business trip during my prior banking career days I had been on an intense spiritual journey to find the Truth, to meet the One who gently yet powerfully touched me there and who was steadily beckoning me and drawing me to Himself during the years that followed.
" For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you go to look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot;"…
(Jeremiah 29: 14a)
The Lord was leading me to the cusp of my conversion. Since that mysterious and wonderful day in Assisi I had been seeking with all my heart to know Whose Presence I had experienced in such an intimate way.
I had to come to believe in God's existence as my Creator during those years afterwards but I did not yet know Jesus as my Savior. You might wonder why?
About two years before this trip to New Orleans deep in the midst of my search I received an unexpected telephone call from a total stranger who introduced herself as "Amy" and asked me two questions:
"Do you have any spiritual questions? Do you want to know what happens to you after you die?"
I was astounded by this unusual call. I answered "Amy" with great enthusiasm that yes, I do have many spiritual questions and I had been seeking for several years the answers to them. I was so amazed by this surprise telephone call that I never questioned how this total stranger could have called me to ask me such questions at that precise time. So I agreed to meet with "Amy" in nearby coffee shop to talk with her at length. When I met her I learned that she was a member of Jehovah's Witnesses. Normally, Jehovah's Witnesses go house to house trying to share their doctrine to obtain converts to their religion. At that time I knew nothing about the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses. So with great eagerness I begin to meet "Amy" to learn their doctrines. With some of her JW members they patiently & persistently presented all their teachings to me and I listened hard and read everything they gave me. Do you know the doctrine of
It is not Christian doctrine and they are not Christians. But as yet, I did not know Jesus Christ personally and so I could not discern well. As time passed under their teaching I found myself more and more troubled about the answer to the question of "Who is Jesus"? They teach that Jesus is a savior but he is not God, or equal with God. I did not know then that Jesus is truly God and truly Man, the God-Man, the Word made Flesh, the Eternal Son of the Father, the Second Person of the
and my own dear Savior. I did not know the Holy Spirit who
"proceeds from the Father and the Son."
The more time I spent studying their doctrines the more my heart and mind and soul were troubled and I felt no peace.
A few days before I left on that fateful trip to New Orleans I met with "Amy" and in exasperation I told her, "I am very sorry. We have been meeting for a long time and I have tried with all my strength to believe all that you have taught me. But the more I try to believe and accept it, the more anxiety I feel. I don't have any peace, and my soul is in agony. You may have to continue teaching me for fifty more years! How do you know that you know the truth? This is all I want! And I just can't pretend that I believe. I am not at peace. I am so sorry."
I left for New Orleans in that state of mind and heart. Looking back now with understanding I can see that the Holy Spirit of truth was with me even then, on account of my
which was given to me as a young child of near two years old when my parents took me to the Lutheran Church in the little village in Norway where she was born and raised.
"But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify Me, because he will take what is Mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is Mine and declare it to you."
(John 16: 13-15).
Even though I had strayed far, far away from God from my youth at about the age of 12 until that mysterious day in Assisi over 20 years later when my journey back to Him by His merciful grace began, the Good Shepherd never forsook his erring lamb, and came
"to seek and to save what was lost."
The Holy Spirit who came with the Father and the Son, - the Triune God, at my baptism, was, as Jesus said, faithfully guiding me to all truth. The Holy Spirit would not let my spirit rest in peace in believing a lie about Jesus Christ, a lie about God. Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine that Jesus Christ is not "true God and true Man" is a deception of the devil whom our Lord called
"the father of all lies."
As I departed for New Orleans I was truly in an inner spiritual agony. There was a battle taking place for my soul between the Holy Spirit, (the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God) and the "god of this world", Satan, (the spirit of anti-Christ).
Arriving in New Orleans, I began to walk around the city as a tourist to enjoy the sites and sounds and offerings of the place in a natural and temporal way. Yet, the Lord had another plan in store for me. My husband left for his conference and I walking alone for a while I stopped to eat at a simple oyster restaurant called "Acme Oyster House." After I left the restaurant and continued walking I began to experience something within my spirit that I cannot really describe. Now I know that it was the Presence of the Holy Spirit. I was being led in a mysterious and wonderful way. I boarded a tram which was heading out of the center of the city. I did not know where it was headed. I don't even know why I got on the tram and I had no idea where I was going. As I was peering out the window in this wondrous deepened spiritual state, I saw a large church and I felt a sudden compulsion to get off the train and go inside it. Today, I know the church I entered is the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church of Loyola
University. Then, however, I did not know what kind of church it was or to whom it belonged.
The doors were open and I went inside. I had not been inside a Catholic Church since that mysterious day 4 years before in Assisi that changed the course of my life. I knew nothing about the Catholic faith or the Catholic Church. I walked around the sanctuary of the church all alone as nobody was inside. I looked at the images of the
"stations of the cross"
which were positioned on the sanctuary walls although I did not know then that is what those images were called. I did not understand what I was looking at. I know you may find this impossible to believe but it is true. Even though I was looking at the 15 scenes from the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Way of Sorrows – the Via Dolorosa, I did not see or understand what I was viewing. I was still "blind" in that I did not yet know who Jesus truly is.
…'they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand' and
Isaiah's prophesy is fulfilled in them, which says,
'You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted and I heal them'.'
Silently I left the church. While in the church I did not even pray. During all my time with Jehovah's Witnesses we never prayed together! And because they do not believe that Jesus is God, they surely do not pray to Him.
I took the next tram back into the center. I walked a little while and passed the enormous Harrah's Casino. While walking along the sidewalk next to the casino I heard a question presented to my mind as if someone was speaking to me. I was startled! The question I heard was "Don't you want to go in?" Who asked me this? I heard it again in my mind? What is happening I wondered? I became confused. I wonder how I could think such an unusual thought. I don't even like casinos. I never gamble, and I hate to waste money. I had some fear well up inside as I considered that this was not my own thought. Then I suddenly had an acute awareness that this thought came from a source outside of me and that it was evil. I had never experienced anything like this ever before – that of a profound awareness of a direct satanic temptation. Although I did not understand it right then, now I know that the Holy Spirit helped me to understand what was happening – revealing to me the knowledge that this was a diabolical temptation. I wanted to leave that area immediately. I quickly crossed the street and walked briskly for a few blocks and found myself in front of the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
I felt a strong desire to enter. It was Saturday afternoon and there was no one inside. I was again all alone. I saw all the Catholic icons around me, but I didn't perceive anything. I sat down in one of the pews. I did not pray. Yet, I my heart was yearning for God. After a while in total silence I heard another question presented to my mind but this time I was not afraid when I heard it. I heard,
"Who do you say that I am?"
Today I know that this was the Lord Jesus who asked me this question there in the St Louis Cathedral that Saturday afternoon. I caught sight of the large hanging crucifix and I began to contemplate it in my heart and my heart began to fill with pain at the thought of the all suffering Jesus endured because of my sins and I was filled with gratitude as the Holy Spirit helped me see that Jesus had died for me personally. I wept. I remained in the church for some time during which a choirmaster with his boys choir came in and positioned themselves in the balcony above me and began to sing. The cathedral was filled with the heavenly voices of young boy singing beautiful hymns of worship and praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
At last I left the cathedral, the Question which Jesus asked me remained in my thoughts throughout the rest of the weekend and into the Christmas season. A couple weeks later I went to a party in my neighborhood for the Christmas holidays. I was speaking with a guest in the corner of the dining room where we were drinking coffee and eating Christmas cookies about the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses. From the other side of the room the hostess of the party overheard our conversation and filled with the Holy Spirit she called loudly from across the other side of the room while pointing her index finger of her right hand with her arm outstretched and exclaimed, "Ann! JESUS IS GOD!" I was overcome with amazement and I realized then that the Holy Spirit was speaking powerfully through her and revealing to me directly the answer to the question that the Lord Jesus had asked me in the Cathedral in New Orleans. The woman who called out to me was completely unaware of my personal spiritual experience in New Orleans nor did she know the question that I had been asked by the Lord. The Holy Spirit had led me into all truth just as Jesus promised. Yes, Jesus, I confess with St. Peter that
"You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God"
and now I know who you are:
Jesus, You are God, My Savior!
The Lord's' Vagabond.
When I posted the poem "Vagabond" recently into this website it brought back to mind the event which inspired me to write this love poem to Jesus in 2006. When I was still living in America there was a very nice community park that was near to my home in eastern Pennsylvania. I used to go there often to walk or jog on the woodchip covered trails that ran between the lovely rolling meadows dotted with large pine trees and trees of other species, and small botanical garden patches and the large sunflower garden in the middle of the park. Here again was
Nature's Cathedral and always while taking my walks or jogging the trails I communed with Jesus. Sometimes I hid myself under a particularly unusual tree that had low branches thick with foliage where I could climb between them and hide inside and converse with Jesus in the naturally created "prayer room" at the base of the tree. Other times I sat on the public picnic benches under the gazebos or those situated along the trails under the big trees and contemplated the beauty of the Lord in His creation or meditated on the Holy Scriptures or the mysteries of the rosary. Sometimes I had the park all to myself, just me and Jesus alone together spending intimate time as lovers do. At other times I shared the trails with walkers or joggers who had come to enjoy the unique loveliness of this place.
One day in early July 2005 I was completing my morning jog with Jesus around the park and was running up the trail on the final incline to the entrance where I had started. A woman was walking alone in the opposite direction coming down the little hill towards me. As I passed her jogging I exclaimed, in a spontaneous burst of conversation, "You are going the wrong way!" Why did I say that? What kind of thing is that to say to someone you don't know? It just came out of my mouth without any premeditation. Afterwards, I discovered it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit and had a divine purpose. But right then, I didn't realize the work the Lord was doing.
But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working".
The woman surprisingly stopped right in her tracks and because she did this I stopped as well and approached her. She greeted me warmly and volunteered without my asking that she was taking a walk today and "meditating". I asked her, "What are you meditating about?" And she replied to my astonishment that she was walking and thinking about the meaning of life and what is true! I was completely amazed and she must have seen my expression of keen interest and wonderment so she continued. She told me that she is a widow and has several grown children and that each one has "gone a different way." She told me that her husband was an atheist and one of her children became a Jew and another, a Buddhist, and another, an Anglican, and so on. "Beverly", was originally from London and was now living in America. She explained to me that she had been thinking about her deceased husband and about their family life in England when the children were young and how because God had no place in their home each child had gone off to find the answer to the meaning of life and each one had gone a different way. "Beverly" told me that she was confused and didn't know which way to go and which way is the true way. She told me that she was looking for the answer to this question for herself and this was the subject of her meditation as she was walking until she heard my outburst, "You are going the wrong way!" which caused her to stop and engage with me. When I heard all that she told me I was amazed and I knew then that the Lord was indeed at work.
So I shared my own testimony with her and how Jesus is the Answer she is looking for – the One who gives all meaning to her life.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
(John 14: 6)
She thanked me for listening and sharing with her and as we parted she asked that when I reached the entrance I might tell her friend who was waiting there for her that she was on the way and would be there in about 15 minutes after she completed walking the trail. I assured her I would. When I got to the starting place, I saw "Joe" waiting there for her and informed him that she would be coming shortly and that she had been detained as a result of our extraordinary conversation. He asked what we were speaking about, and I told him. Joe informed me that he was an
at St Anne's Catholic Church in the area. I asked if he had ever invited Beverly to come to Mass with him. He had not done so out of timidity. I encouraged him to invite her to
"Come and see"
the One she is longing for yet does not know.
As Joe and I were still speaking, Beverly arrived from her walk at the entrance where we were standing. She smiled and joined us. I told her that I had explained her delay and the nature of our conversation to Joe and that is why I was still there as we had begun to speak about our shared Catholic faith. At that point I cheerfully said to Beverly, on Joe's behalf, "you should go to Church with Joe!" and just at that exact moment a loud clap of thunder boomed in the sky. Startled, Beverly exclaimed as she looked at me, "God is talking to you!" I replied confidently, "No! He is talking to YOU!"
There were no clouds in the sky and no sign of rain.
Whoever serves me must follow Me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves Me. ..."Father, glorify your name." … Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." The crowd heard it and said it was thunder…"This voice did not come for My sake, but for yours… and when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself"...
We were indeed all amazed at the extraordinary timing of the thunderclap and no others followed. I said farewell and gave Beverly my Magnificat prayer book to help her start a dialogue with Jesus, encouraging her to begin that day to read His word in the Scriptures and to speak with Him from her heart in prayer, and of course, to go along with Joe to Mass where she could see our Eucharistic King in the Blessed Sacrament and one day to even receive Him in Holy Communion.
Rejoicing that the Lord would use me in His work, I entered my car and began to sing a little song that flowed over spontaneously out of a heart of love and gratitude, "I'm just a vagabond for You, Lord, I'm just a vagabond for you!" Realizing how silly it sounded, I lifted my eyes to heaven and saw, of course, just the ceiling of my car, but knowing the Lord is always Present, I said to Him, "Oh that's such a silly song, do you even like it?" A moment later my cell phone rang before I had even left the parking lot and my friend Jack was on the line. "Where are you Ann?" he asked me. "I'm at the park. I just finished my jog and prayers," I answered him. And he said, "You're such a vagabond, Ann!" I could not believe my ears! It is true. That is exactly what he said. I asked him excitedly, "Why did you say that? And he told me that he didn't know, and that he hadn't used that word for decades! Then I told him all the Lord had just done! And we were giggling like little children with giddy joy as we realized how the Holy Spirit was speaking and moving through us and how the Lord was at work drawing souls to Himself.
Your Eye is on the Sparrow.
Some of our greatest gifts from the Lord such as compassion, empathy, sensitivity with which we are endowed at birth in our unique personalities and temperament can be developed into saintly virtues by cooperating with His magnanimous
If we allow our natural emotions, even those that are good - love, compassion, caring - to depart from the truth of God's perfect hierarchy of creation we can become unbalanced and disordered in our reason, feelings and actions. This ultimately brings harm to ourselves by producing inordinate anxiety and distraction from more worthy uses of our time and money and causes those around us to suffer a lack of peace and serenity caused by another's "obsessions." Also, God is dishonored as such behavior shows a lack of respect for His divine
order of creation
and His supreme providence over it.
I know about this from first hand experience. Animals delight me. I am especially fond of cats. As a child I had pet dogs and cats and hamsters. As a young adult when I would go to my parents' home I would enjoy petting their Collie for long periods of time and "caring" for the fish in the tank. Once I even thought that the dog needed a walk at midnight – I say "needed" a walk, not to relieve itself, but that it just might be bored and I should try make its life more enjoyable! I recall a neighbor of my parents seeing this heavily bundled lady, which was me! - trudging through the deep snow walking the dog at near midnight, and calling out, "it's bit late to be walking your dog!" In my embarrassment, I did not respond. I suppose he thought it was my "'crazy" mother since he could not see who was under the snow hat and he surely would know whose dog it was. Forgive me, Mom! That was when I was in my 20's. Many years later when I had a family of my own, my 7 year old daughter begged for cat. Within days it was "my" cat, and I spent a shameful number of hours providing it with "needed" walks (yes, with a leash! - as I did not want for it to be hit by a car or stray away and get lost) and games at midnight well after the rest of the family were asleep so that the cat would be "happy".
After "Smokey's" death, I cried for 2 weeks. Yes, he died so young less than 1 year's old from a hidden untreatable fatal cat virus and he was lovable, but …..
Then in a moment of weakness still grieving the loss of Smokey and responding to the pleadings of the same daughter, I pulled out the credit card and bought Spunky, a pedigree flame point Himalayan, who also was taken for hours long walks during the evenings when I should have been spending more quality time with my family at home.
When we moved from America to Israel we bought an airline ticket for Spunky and took her with us. She is part of the family, and it is fine to have a pet and good to love your pet, but it became more and more evident to me after the move here that I behaved differently than my husband and children and thought differently about these creatures. My emotions and thinking were disordered and needed to be brought into unity with the Mind of Christ and His will regarding the order of creation.
The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures209 and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"210
Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church)
Israel is a country with a very high and problematic stray cat population. I was in for trouble. I already had great difficulty in maintaining a proper emotional balance with the one animal in our care, and now there were hundreds of strays that passed through our neighborhood and yard searching for food. I heard the cat fights in the alleyways, on the flat rooftops and in the empty lots, saw the wounded and injured cats as they hopped on three legs, or with bloody faces from the many scratches they endured, and the swollen limbs from the infections that developed from the deep scratches and bites, and heard the distinct meowing they made to communicate with humans in order to beg for food. It was a distressing site for any one with any compassion, but for me, it was unbearable and I was unable to accept this reality of life around me - all the suffering and struggle of life as witnessed up close and personal in this small part of the animal kingdom. I began to feed the cats on the roof top of the small and very poor house which was adjacent to our home in the Arab town in which we were then living. Our living room window overlooked their small rooftop. When we moved away, and I had to leave those cats which had come to expect a daily feeding from me as there was no-one who would "adopt" them, as here in Israel, the saying is that "cats are like ants" – there are just so many as the population is out of control and the country's municipalities have not developed the programs to manage the problem.
Moving to the current town where I live in Even Yehuda, the problem continued and worsened for me. I ignored my husband's sound advice to make a clean start and not feed the cats in the yard as this would simply attract great numbers and then seeing their many, many "needs" which I could not meet I would become overwhelmed and distressed and filled with anxiety. I did not heed his counsel and this is exactly what happened. At first I fed a few strays in the alleyway. Then the neighbors complained that the food was attracting crows so I moved the food bowls to my own yard, and then the cats began to settle in: a mother cat brought her 5 kittens and they made a home in the engine of my car (!!), and another mother moved her four kittens digging out the earth to get under the wooden deck in the backyard, and cat catchers had to be called and paid to trap and transport them to the animal shelters, which took hours to call and for which I prayed the Lord would provide me the miracle of having them accept these wild cats! (Thank You my patient and kind Jesus as You graciously delivered me in both these cases). There were more than 30 that I handled and provided in my yard or home for in the first several months of moving to the town. … each one a story in itself.
Yet, even after this, I did could not seem to reorder my thoughts, emotions and behaviors to line up with the truth of the hierarchy of creation that You established. Thus, I continued to experienced greater and greater anxiety. More and more cats came under my care, and an excessive amount of money was expended on veterinary support and large supplies of food. I was overly preoccupied and time that should have been spent on other work and in family life was lost and I had become a bag of nerves.
I knew I needed healing and delivery from my condition. I needed to accept the order of creation, prioritize to human relationships and needs, and trust God for His providence over His own creation.
It had really peaked to a point where I desperately wanted the Lord's help to change and let go and trust Him more deeply in this area and so I went to a nearby wooded picnic area to walk and pray to Him about it. A few days before, I had seen a familiar stray I called "Monti" who occasionally came into the yard to eat. He was sitting in between the bushes and had a strange look in his eyes. I moved closer to observe him. Then to my horror, I saw that the cat had multiple horrific injuries in his flesh on all four legs and his back. Great areas of skin were missing and you could see the muscles exposed. I was heartbroken. I wanted to help him. I would have helped him, but he would not allow it. He was a stray that still feared human touch. Nothing I could do could coax him into the carry cage. He would not be helped, he was too afraid, too wild. I resigned myself to the truth. He must have been hit by a car and with such injuries he could not make it as surely infection would set in and I imagined he would have a slow and suffering death. I prayed to merciful Jesus to heal him and save him. I know God can do all things, but I feared the worst for him anyway, as my faith in this case was weak!
For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.
I drove to the picnic area. I noticed that on the other side of the highway there was another side to the public park and I had not walked there, so I decided to turn to the right. I parked my car and walked into the grounds. I was delighted to find that on this side it was not a big rough woods with picnic areas, but a cultured and groomed botanical garden with a oval shaped paved trail with a little bridge, a small rose garden in the shape of a maze in the center and large trees along the trail marked with their species and from which continent they originated. There were some water fountains and benches placed along the path.
I began my walk with Jesus and asked Him for His help with "my problem" that I seemed to be helpless to change by my own efforts. I honestly admitted to Him that I needed healing and that I was unable to change my thoughts and emotions about this matter even though I had so often tried to do so by my own "will-power" and I wanted to let go of this burden I feel to care for these animals to the obsessive level that it had become in my mind and emotions.
Giving this over to Jesus, I began walking and praying peacefully the holy rosary. I completed walking the trail several circuits by the time I came to the fifth decade of the rosary and then I saw to the left hand side of the path a cat perched on a small mound of red earth with its paws crossed one over the other and its eyes half opened. I thought, "Oh no, not another one!" I was distracted from my rosary prayers as I moved forward toward it. I began to speak sweetly to it, saying," hey beautiful! Aren't you pretty? What are you doing here? You've picked a nice place to live but it's a bit remote. What do you have to eat? You must be hungry? And more such things. I felt the anxiety rise inside as I considered that indeed the cat must be hungry and thirsty too, as the day was very, very hot as most summer days in Israel are. I also realized that a busy highway separated the cat from the towns and the picnic grounds where food could be more readily available from some kind hearted souls. Then, I caught myself and turned my mind back to the Lord.
Here I had come that day, to implore His help with all my heart and finally really "let go" and fully trust in His Providence over His creation and I was worrying again. I stepped up on the park bench and looked at the cat from a slightly higher position. My God! I couldn't believe my eyes. Next to the cat was a huge bird, dead, nearly as big as the cat itself. It was bigger than a large crow. I do not know what species of bird it was, but it was about three quarters the length of the cat which was stretched out on the top of the mound. Now I understood why its eyes were half closed – opening and closing half way with fatigue. He was exhausted from the hunt! His battle trophy lie at his side on the slope of the little mound and he sat on top like king after a mighty victory.
Lord, you are the King of creation!
The Lord is good to all, compassionate to every creature….
The eyes of all look hopefully to You;
You give them their food in due season.
You open wide Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
(Psalm 145: 9,15-16)
Profoundly amazed, I walked to my car in awe and wonder at the revelation the Lord had just given me. He is the Lord of creation and He cares for His creatures and His Providence can be fully trusted in all things and at all times.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls the ground without your Father's knowledge.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Within a day I realized that I had been changed. The Lord through this revelation had had done for me what I could not do for myself. He healed me of my anxiety and aligned my mind with His. He increased my faith and deepened my trust in Him.
Several weeks later, I saw the once mangled cat "Monti" come into my yard; the one that had the large gaping wounds on his arms, legs and back. He was alive and thriving. His once open wounds where muscles could be seen were covered over with large scabs. Lord, thank you for your mercy and pouring out your healing power… Your Eye is on every sparrow….