Once in the village of Gubbio, a wolf was terrorizing both animals and people, the danger so severe that people took to arming themselves for protection. St. Francis, in compassion for all, offered to meet the feral creature on the road. When the wolf lunged to attack him, he raised a prayer, made the sign of the cross, and the wolf laid down at his feet, meek as a lamb. In the following weeks, Francis fashioned a peacekeeping pact between brother wolf and the community—providing food for the animal and safety for the people. (summarized from fisheaters.com blog)
A Word of Hope
I didn’t see it at first. The displaced board and the rip in the sturdy wire mesh beneath the gable vent. The scat on the roof, the size of the hole –and the force it took to rip it open—all indicated a raccoon invasion, a hunch confirmed the night I saw two eyes shining above me when I let the dogs out.
For some East Texas folks, a rifle offers a quick fix to the problem—and, truth be told, the destruction from raccoons can be considerable. But all created nature is of God, blessed as “good,” so one tenet of my spiritual discipline is “first, do no harm.”
I borrowed my neighbors’ humane trap, baiting it with tasty food, and set it out next to the house, planning to relocate the masked marauder with the help of a man in the neighborhood.
“Rocky” eluded us the first night, but we caught him on the second try, transporting him to a dense, forested area with a good fishing source on the lake. Then it was repair time, another morning’s work, another trip to “town” to get supplies. And that might have been the end of the story. But about bedtime that evening, a ruckus startled us—bumping, scratching, tearing. Inadvertently, we had imprisoned another raccoon who had been hiding in the attic. Though I was weary from the daily challenges and short on sleep, the next morning I called Will, my cohort, and told him we had to open the hole again. I could not be the cause of this death.
I have more work to do with my raccoon boarders and will continue my peace-keeping pact, remembering, as Thomas Berry says: “The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence.”
God of earth and sea and sky, forgive us our shoddy stewardship of your creation. May we walk gently in the woods, hearts filled with care for all that is yours. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon