Tuesday, 22 February 2011


The apple of her eye, the jewel in her crown...such was the celestial cat to my long-deceased aunt. It was 'Truffles' who always had the cream from the top of the milk bottle. Aunt had the skimming! Truffles would only eat first grade salmon; aunt had to be content with making the most of third grade. She relished this kind of sacrificial love for her adorable cat. Truffles deigned to accept this as being no more than fitting. Both sides of this engagement agreed that nothing but the best was good enough for this most superior of cats. And Truffles, like most self-respecting, well organized cats, spent most of its life sleeping.

Truffles possessed the smug virtue of one who had never had the need to steal the cream; the complacency of the wealthy who can survive without having to resort to the knavery of robbing a bank. But here I pause to reflect on the white-collared fat-cats who in recent times have engaged in massive financial swindles!

Truffles had the sense to know when enough was enough and the serenity (or laziness) not to go along with the adage that stolen fruit is always sweetest. In fact, Truffles was the embodiment of contentment. Having either been spayed or neutered this sleek, serene creature did not have to wrestle with temptations of the flesh, with all its longings and frustrations. In the case of Truffles, "what had never been enjoyed was never missed."

Feline beatitude, indeed! The attainment of heaven ---here on earth? You think so? I feel certain most high-spirited cats would disagree. For them bliss was to be found in pouncing on a mouse; entertainment in toying with its captive, enjoyment was to be found in a meal that had been earned. And what of the exquisite triumph in winning in the conflict of the mating game. What to compare with the ecstasy of screeching cats clawing and wrestling in the moonlight while the spouse-to-be relished the idea of being worth fighting for!

Truffles enjoyed the limited beatitude described in the Book of Revelation, "All tears would be wiped from the eyes; no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain," (cf. ch. 21). Comfortable and trouble-free...the life of Truffles. Is this all self-respecting cats are meant for? And, for that matter, is that all we self-respecting human beings aspire to, all we need forus to be satisfied and contented? Sadly, I find, there are those who would gladly settle for this -the tranquillity of inertia!

Most of us want to get more out of life and to put more into life. There's something splendid in acquiring skills and in using them creatively for the benefit of others; something so rewarding in building up and sustaining deep friendships; something noble in overcoming adversity. There's something inspiring in accepting God's call to live as befits His children, and, by His grace, not making too bad a job of it.

We human beings are at our best when we strive for that fulfilment and perfection that is beyond our grasp. Achieving an awareness of God is so wonderful, even though inevitably, so inadequate. This is how it is, "Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am known," (1 Cor. 13.12). This is the spice of Christian life. Here there is hope, striving, anticipation and expectation...dreams that come true as in, "I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make His home amongst them; they will be His people, and He will be their God, God-with-them,'" (Rev. 21).

I reach God mywaygodsway, by weighing up 'Fat Cat, Truffles, of the Grade 1 Salmon' and finding it wanting -wanting in the appetite for the feline thrills it was made for, pitiful in being satisfied with far too little. I am reaching God by going for more than whatever perfection lies within the grasp of my natural capacity. I reach God by grasping for all that He has on offer..His very self. "We are already God's children, what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when He appears we shall see Him as He really is," (1 Jn. 3.20).

Peter O.P.

"Give me a hand please!" In a fortnight Isidore will suggest how that appeal can help us to meet God.

1 comment:

  1. I feel that cats(and children),often reflect the amount of freedom they have experienced when growing up, in their attitudes to life.
    It seems to me that "Truffles"was seduced into a life of inertia through visits to the vet and a surplus of good food.
    Those who have never been tempted to sin,should not throw stones.!!
    As for "striving for that fulfilment and perfection that is beyond our grasp",---- I remember a Dominican who used to give a group of us religious instruction each week. He said that in Heaven we will all be filled to the brim with love and contentment according to our capacity!
    He turned to me saying that Saints were usually much larger vessels waiting to be fulfilled by God in Heaven but even small pots like me would have their chance!
    It's only a good friend who can make a comment like that and get away with it!
    Amusing, thoughtprovoking and three cheers for the cartoonist!