Well, I am in serious debt, both spiritually and financially, to a rather large contingent of the heavenly host, I might add.
You see; Benedict was missing.
Benedict is a black and tan cuddly clown of a tabby cat, barely out of his kitten duds. He came to us a year ago through PetFinder, where he was listed as ” a bag of bones covered in fur” who almost became the sparse meal of an owl who was perched -in -waiting on a nearby tree.
Named for our beloved Holy Father, who has a great fondness for felines, Benedict’s antics have brought us great joy, and helped to heal the hole in our hearts left by the death of our precious cat, Nick, last year.
Ben is usually an indoor cat, but when my husband has yard work to do, he lets him out for some fun. This usually involves pouncing on leaves and chasing bugs in flight. He is rarely out of sight for long. Until yesterday.
And I was frantic.
Now, this is one of those trials I believe God sends with something of a Divine Smile hidden within. He knows ahead of time that our suffering will be brief, and that the end result will be a happy one, but He also knows that we will barter with Him to try to influence the outcome.
With no Benedict in sight for seven hours, my first offer went up St. Anthony at 3pm. It would have been sooner, but I had been out most of the day, and was unaware that Ben was in absentia.
Rosary in hand, I strode the patio glancing in earnest at the statue of Our Lady. More time passed. Therese and my guardian angel had long since been recruited into the search party.
As night fell, promises of novenas and extra holy hours were sent up to Heaven. Still, no sign of Ben.
About 11pm, I heard the voice of Johnette Benkcovic coming from the TV in the next room. She was talking about St. Joseph.
Ah, St. Joseph! I had not considered him. Truth be told, I am rather ashamed of my neglect of this most pure, just and holy man chosen as the spouse of Our Lady, and the foster father of Jesus.
I made a big promise to St. Joseph. Then I went to the backyard one more time and called for Benedict. I heard a faint response. Benedict doesn’t meow; he has a peculiar vocabulary instead. I thought I was imagining things. But I called again.
And then I saw him.
One tired, damp, rumpled little cat sitting across from Mary’s statue. Joyfully, I scooped him up and ran inside to tell my husband.
Thank you St. Joseph I whispered over and over again. But was it only St. Joseph? What if St. Anthony helped too, and Therese and all the others? And wasn’t he sitting near Mary’s statue when I found him?
So you see, I owe them all. I wll have to write everything down to keep it straight. And I will be busy for some time with many extra prayers and remembering to write a few checks.
I have this lovely impression of God rejoicing with me as I was reunited with my little pet, but also of His Divine Charm working in wisdom to remind me that in the end, all we really have is prayer. And that prayers offered with faith are more often than not answered.
I believe that He delights that we run to Him and His Saints when we have lost something dear, or hope for a favorable outcome or cherish a special dream. Nothing is insignificant to Him. We can never hope for too much from His Goodness.
And today I’m thanking Him that Benedict is back home with us — all soft and sillky and silly – sleeping the day away, no doubt dreaming about yesterday’s adventures.