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What's That, Fr. Matt?

Staying in Touch

Posted by Fr. Matt Oprendek on with 2 Comments

Ella is a one-year-old dog today.  In the early morning hours, she often gets out of her own bed and jumps up onto mine, wanting a little morning tummy rub and an ear scratching. Not in any rush to go outside, she will often just lay beside me for a little while, with her head on my chest, as if to hear my heartbeat.  It is the sweetest thing!  Oh my gosh.

When traveling in the car, sometimes, she snuggles her nose next to my hand.  When laying on the couch, sometimes, she’ll want just her foot to be touching my leg.  When walking down the street, she’ll catch my eye sometimes, look up at me, as if to say, “This is really fantastic!”

Making a connection, literally staying in touch, and spending time with someone, without an agenda.…it’s a pretty good image of a loving relationship.  

It’s like Ella is modeling in a beautiful way what it’s like to stay in touch with her master. I never had to train her to do that — she does it because she’s a wonderfully affectionate dog.  And it’s just natural for her. 

What would it be like if I had a natural inclination to stay in touch with my Master? 

For me, there are numerous ways for me to stay in touch … obviously through prayer … and taking a cue from Ella, I wonder how often am I willing to actually spend time in God’s presence without an agenda?  Am I willing to pay attention to the Voice of Love, without being in a rush or feeling like I have to check this task off a to-do list?

I wonder how often am I in tune to the heart of God?  Seeing the world from Love’s perspective?  Understanding things with the wisdom of God, with a renewed mind that’s steeped in our tradition and scripture, and with a heart that’s rooted and grounded in hope?  

And how often am I willing to stay in physical touch?  Whether experiencing the taste and feel of the Eucharist or touching another person with kindness or compassion … whether seeing them as the body of Christ … or knowing I am also the hands and feet of Christ in this world.

How often am I willing to make a connection during a wonderful, everyday, common experience? Stopping to recognize that moment as a gift, and then say to God with gratefulness, “Wow! This is really fantastic!  Thank you!”

How often am I willing to stay in touch? 

If dogs understand more of our words than we previously thought possible, I wonder if we (in turn) can understand more of their actions?  Especially when those actions show me what’s it’s like to stay in touch … with someone you love.


Carolyn September 10, 2016 9:25am

I will certainly miss your meditations each week.

Geri T. September 18, 2016 7:15pm

I know exactly how it feels to have my dog look up at me when we are happily taking a walk. Her large warm brown eyes catch my glance and for a moment we really connect. It makes me feel especially good to make such a connection with a being that doesn't speak my language of words. But, as the saying goes, much is often said with no words at all, but a look. She has taught me as much as I have taught her. And then there are my 3 cats. People who don't know or understand cats think they are loners. They are not. They are like us. Sometimes they want to be with us, sometimes they want to be alone and sometimes they want to be near us but not actively involved. They give love, want love and show us how to be with grace, dignity and just the right amount to everything!!!