Cat in a church with an attitude.
|It was time to feed kitty, who was already fading in the distance through the neighborhood underbrush. The owner, a young boy of ten ran after him through dense foliage with a raw dead fish in hand, waving it in the air, yelling after the cat, “Here kitty kitty kitty!” He could not see it but could hear his meow, which was something between a loud roar and primal screech.
The cat had no real name due to apathy, lack of imagination and laziness or all of the above. All of a sudden kitty broke loose into a clearing, dodging left and right in a panic on all four paws to who knows where. Boy and beast began the chase in earnest as if they were running from the devil. Kitty stampeded into the nearby cathedral at top speed. It was a stampede of one but this is no time to mince words as the animal launches forward through the open doors of the big church, which happened to be open at the time for Sunday morning services.
There in the middle of the alter at the 10:00 am Sunday mass, during the canon (or law) prayers, which happens to be the most sacred part of the celebration, Father Zachery holds the Eucharist above his head, cradling the holy host, which is the transformation of bread into the body of Christ, then bows in humility. At that very moment, when the man of God gently raises his arms up again to heaven while mumbling, chanting magic sacred words, then with those same sanctified hands, there for all the congregation to behold, the mystery of Christianity is held there in suspended animation in space and time for all to witness. They also witness kitty, who was making himself known in a most fierce, chaotic and unchristian like manner. The deafening codicil growling, which could never be confused with meowing, were a dead give away that the beast was not there for morning prayers. You could not miss him in his orange stripes tinged in black against the white fur, weighing in at about 300 lbs. or so and roaring for the attention of lost souls, with eyes blazing like the flames of hell out of fear, a thirst for blood and hunger for the taste of congregants. Kitty Cat is a tiger. It only makes sense since the orange stripes give it away right away.
At that very same instance, Father Zach realizes that he had lost his sheep; mostly masked believers, who were now running for their lives, influenced by forces beyond his control and their abilities. It was not Covid 19 or church services, or social distancing concerning the church goers at the moment but being eaten alive.
The boy, we think his name is Jon or John, (The H makes all the difference) comes running into the cathedral panting but still looking angelic like, with his rosy red cheeks and innocence of young age beside him but of no use against an angry tiger. His parents call him Johnny, which only adds to the confusion. They were at home asleep so they too, like his youth, were of no use in this situation. They were of no use to him last week when they took him shopping for a Spring outfit. They purchased white shorts and a peppermint red and white striped short sleeve shirt for him to wear with the lines running vertical. The stripes would no longer face up and down when he would trip and fall, (which was often.) The lines and the boy would all be facing horizontally at those moments.
Will the fish be his salvation and the salvation of others? Perhaps a ripe dead fish, raw and stinking could be the ticket to success in this situation.
As a general rule tigers like raw meat, preferably fresh animal flesh over fish. (lest we forget that we are part of the food chain.) Father Zachary can only offer up a blessing at this dire hour.
Just then the wild creature enters the confessional booth at the back of the church. There is no way of knowing what is on kitty’s mind. Does it want to relieve itself? Urine can be a burden when under duress and stress. Is it looking for the remission for sins committed in the past or for those it is about to commit deserving of absolution? There is one thing for certain. The priest and all who are gathered in the name of God are not going anywhere near that booth and that’s the truth. Peoples eyes were no longer fixed on the activities at the front alter. They were glued to the movements behind the curtain in the rear of the Cathedral. What was going on in the booth in the back? After the original panic they simply gave up and became frozen in a place of quandary and raw fear. Bigger questions emerge.
Will the church be collecting money today from parishioners? Will the authorities be collecting bodies of those who perished? These are mysteries yet to be revealed, yet to unfold from the near past, as we now know and refer to as the “here and now” as things are happening so rapidly and all things being equal in the eyes of God, we must carry on as best we can. We pray for a happy conclusion that includes more God and less kitty.
For the foreseeable future we also pray for Jon or John or Johnny, whatever the case may be and for his parents in their sleep and apathy. We pray they wake up, find their son, take him to the mall, buy him some normal clothes, stop dressing him like a little girl and maybe buy him a new pet like a turtle or a bird.
It is all good sport.
Father Zachary is a very devout follower of God. He also carries a loaded gun under his robe at all times just in case and just because.