I watched Buddy the Cat, who follows my neighbor on walks stalk a ground-squirrel which was hiding underneath a pile of dried up oak leaves on the patio next door. Buddy waited for a long time, left, came back, waiting some more, left, came back and is now sitting outside the "my" patio, as the little ground-squirrel ran out of the leaf pile and into the drain pipe. These little creatures have learned to do this over the years and in 2005, I remember my Puddy waiting for hours outside a drain pipe, waiting for it's prey. Puddy proved to be an excellent hunter.
I do like the little ground squirrels, but Buddy is acting naturally. It has the ability to focus and be patient until it has it's prey.
Are we persistent in prayer? Do we wait on the Lord, knowing that He hears our prayers and if we pray in His Will all will be answered?
Perseverance, the mark of a saint, leads one to follow the arduous way of perfection.
Now, I have a large red squirrel at the back patio door. They beg for food here, as they did so long ago at Notre Dame on football weekends, when people were walking around with steak sandwiches.
Do we beg God for graces, for all our needs?
Animals work out of instinct and habit. We have free will, but we can learn from those creatures who do rely on God daily.
Notice in Psalm 84 that the singer refers to God giving animals what they need, but they find homes "at thy altars". David, who was full of the Holy Spirit, could rejoice in nature. God arranges the tiniest detail of our lives and those of animals. Without God's care, Buddy would not exist, nor would you or I.
All creation was renewed in the Crucifixion. We forget that Christ redeemed the world, allowing for us to rejoice in nature in a way not possible when we all were locked in Original Sin. Nature still and we still endure some of the consequences of the Fall, but some are ameliorated. God has given us the ability to rejoice in His creation in a new way, seeing the earth through the eyes of joy.
The earth is still a dangerous and sometimes deadly place. I know of someone who died of hypothermia. We are not in Eden. However, God has sanctified us to see the beauty of nature and to learn from those things around us, because of His sacrifice. The sparrows have a home and the swallows find a nest because we are renewed.
When I was in Malta, and in Italy years ago, I learned that men shoot birds, even rare song-birds just for the heck of it. This is not the work of a renewed mind. We are allowed to eat animals if we need to do so, and most people do. However, the wanton destruction of nature and creatures shows the actions of one who does not know the altars of God, the places of prayer and meekness the places of peace.
Buddy is a half-feral cat and has been abused, which is why it is afraid of most people. Some people are so scarred by sin that they cannot accept the goodness of God, cannot see His love and providence. But, Buddy teaches me perseverance.
May God bless us all with perseverance and healing this day, so that we all can trust and persevere in prayer.