Deliver Us From Angst This Day

Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother…
“–Matthew 5: 23

Susie and Delia unfurl their claws at each other once in a while. They hiss and raise their backs. One or the other takes a stand and protects her territory. It is quite off putting.

Our usually serene cats suddenly display another side of their nature. Instead of cuddling together in a ball or meticulously helping each other groom; in an instant, each is displaying what is simply part of their very nature–a very basic instinct of survival, fight or flight.


They draw on gifts that God endowed them with to survive in the wilderness, not in the comfortable house they live. In our home, they have no need for their sharp claws to climb and hide to avoid becoming prey. They needn’t hunt for food. They have no fear of cold. But they find themselves uncovering those unneeded “gifts”–today.


I am not much different from they. How often do I unfurl my claws? Unnecessarily? I know that I can carry resentment and anger right up to the altar with me–well, right along with my prayers.


In fact, right up until I utter the words, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, do I remember that anger has no place in my “prayer chair”.


What I notice most about Susie’s and Delia’s spats–they never last long. They might arch their back. They hiss. There’s a “slap” forward and one or the other steps back. But, always, one of them retreats to some dark cozy corner of our house. When I return, they are asleep together on the bed. Life goes on.


Of course, Susie and Delia are blessed to live without resentment. The Lord blessed human beings with supposedly a greater intellect, one which holds onto memory so much that sometimes it just can’t let go. An intellect so deep that it can’t grasp the meaning of forgiveness in that phrase about trespassing.


As we forgive those who trespass against us.


If I could only remember that, maybe I could deliver myself from a lot of angst in my life. I know Susie and Delia seem to. Amen!