Thursday, July 27, 2006
Katmir and the Seven Sleepers
For most people the weekend means running a few errands, sipping a latte and reading the Sunday paper.
For us nuns it means visiting the sick, getting the church ready for Mass, which because of everyone's busy schedules and laziness now also is held on Saturday AND Sunday (God asks for ONE day and what do YOu do? "I need to go on Saturday so I can read the paper and sip lattes on Sunday!"), grading papers, manning the soup kitchen, and scrubbing the cement steps of the convent and the church with a stiff wire brush.
People. The weekend is your golden opportunity to embrace the corporal works of mercy. Can you name them? There are seven, only one of which you might want to skip. That leaves the other six to occupy your time on Saturday and the seven spiritual works of mercy on Sunday.
The lives of the saints are, if nothing else, a history of selfless acts of piety, charity and aid to human misery. St. Bartholomew was skinned alive! You're whining because you're lactose intolerant!
It's your one day to sleep in? Too bad. You can sleep when you're dead. And consider the havoc too much sleep can bring.
Yesterday was the feast of the Seven Sleepers. (I would have talked about it yesterday, but my alarm didn't go off. Set my whole day back. Usually, Sister Mary Fiacre's snoring wakes me anyhow, but yesterday she was so quiet we thought she was finally dead. But God doesn't want her yet.)
Seven Christian boys in Ephesus (Mary's home town) were put on trial by the emperor Decius and sentenced to die. The boys gave their property to the poor and went into a cave to say their final prayers with their dog, Katmir. They prayed and fell asleep. Katmir, too. Meanwhile the soldiers of Decius tracked them down and walled up the cave. Eventually their story and their names were written on the wall. (Maybe not the dog's name.)
More than 200 years passed.
The Roman Empire became Christian. A cattle owner decided to use the cave for his herd and knocked down the wall. The boys, thinking they had only been asleep over night, couldn't believe how hungry they were (the dog, too) and sent Diomedes into town for bread for what they believed would be their last meal. (Remember they had been condemned 'the day before'.) He tried to pay for it with his ancient coin. This made everyone take notice. The bishop was called, the other boys were discovered and much rejoicing transpired.
Now here's the thing. They were really dead in there and rose again. We think. That's why everyone rejoiced, because at that time in history there was a big fat argument going on about the whole resurrection idea and this incident put the Ka bosh on that.
So after the party they all went ahead and died for good. Katmir, too.
The Seven Sleepers are mentioned along with their dog in the Koran. Katmir is mentioned as one of the nine animals in paradise. Which is how we know the Koran is wrong, since the only dog in heaven is St. Roch's dog, Licky.
The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy:
Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. (on that last one....don't try this at home.)
The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy:
Convert the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrongs patiently, forgive injuries, pray for the living and the dead.
No where in there is a mocha frappacino with soy.