Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Chinese farmer Fu Haiwen has a strange duck: it has chicken feet and is afraid of the water!
Fu said he bought the duck in June but did not notice its unusual feet for ten days, reports Laibin News. It was only after he noticed it acting differently to the rest of the ducks that he examine closely and was surprised to see it did not have webbed feet."never went with the other ducks to swim in the river," he explained.

This poor little creature is a stranger in a strange land like so many us who lose tract of our true origins. Our modern world is full of such children, wandering after strangers and strangnesses, things, ideas, places, objects, addictions, who will serve as substitutes. Soon these lost chickies will look, walk, talk, and feed on a world they were not born to. Soon they forget they are chickens. After a while they walk like the odd ducks they are following. One just has to turn on almost any television station and watch the duck parade.

How He must miss our wanderings.

As Christ following adults we know better, yet daily we lose our way, and begin to bond with strangers.

Why is it so easy for  strangers to capture our minds, our hearts, our bodies, and even, our souls? Richard Rohr, contemporary theologian, once described humans as mimetic intelligences, as the advertizing world so well knows. We become what we mimic. We copy what we see.  We are copycat learners, or, well,..copychicks.

Have you ever noticed how a new fashion, for instance, the layered look, which at first sight seemed so oddly unfinished, letting what seemed like underwear hang out, evolved into the norm?   Soon we begin to like it, admire it, want it, have to have it. Trends are born out of our need to mimic. We follow what we look at faithfully like quacking ducks with chicken feet.

In our postmodern world there is no lack of streetside venders, showing off their wares. I lose "track" often to my own meanderings and once in a while get really lost to such snake charmers. I have to remember that I become what I look at long enough. I must be really careful what I look at. I moment by moment have to re-focus my mind's eye on whatever is lovely, true, pure, beautiful, as Paul reminds.

My ugly yet charming snakes are unhealthy foods, giving into worry and anxious thinking, gossip, shiny new goods, temporary comforts, wanting what I want when n how I want it, and so on and on - an addiction to the slippery sirens of the senses and the world, the will, its pleasures and its burdens. What are your charming snakes?

Mother Hen,
cluck over me
never let me out
of Your warm, feathering
I am at home
never more
than when
I am tucked
in the giddy crush
of Your unbearable wing

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


                    Woof!Woof! I'm a doggy!

Why not? Actually, even God calls himself  a chick, well, a hen, a mother hen to be exact.  No. I am not being sacriligeous. His own son Jesus referred to himself as a hen that spread its wings over its brood of chicks.

I read a great line from bestseller The Help reference to a neglected and wandering toddler who followed the housekeeper everywhere she went, including a black only bathroom. Taboo! The help said of the child, who was receiving more signs of love from her than from the little one's preocuppied young mother, she like a baby chick who follow a duck, who think she a duck

It reminded me of how crucial and natural,(super- natural really), it is for us human chicks to follow and cluck for our mother hen. And who does Jesus himself say this big warm superchicken is: it's Him, our Mama -Jesus. 

No, I am not a goddess worshipping new age pseudo-feminist. It is just science meets theology. We follow what we need, what we hunger for, what we smell like. We cluck for all the possible places..or persons. Chickens show us how to do this, even chicks that are lost and seek any four legged feathered friend. The maid was black and quacked, unlike her mother who was white and clucked. But the little one's survival instinct told her to follow..the love.


O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
Luke 13:34

Now that's some simply divine bonding. An offer no smart chick would refuse and yet we do ..often.  It worked out well for the toddler in the novel, but what about for us? Day after day we lose our way, bonding with strangers who become so familiar,  and seem so natural to us, and they are just that -natural.

What our real Mother Jesus offers us is a bonding to the super natural. We are spirit and are born to become what we bond with, born to bond with our spiritual parent, This parent is likened to a mother hen who loves and broods over us, inspite of our lostness, our mistakes, and our rejection.

So that we little human chickies make no mistake whose our Daddy, our Father became a chicken too so He could look like us, walk like us, even reek of barnyard smells-just so we would recognize Him.  

If we just look for Him all around and within us, nuzzling close and breathing in  His unique scent, and do this daily by  listening for His voice in the Word, touching Him, in those who most need us, and tasting Him in the Eucharist and through the sacraments, or simply by following Him around every moment of every day, clucking  every chattering thought from our heart to His, as brother Lawrence did, we will bask in his motherly presence and be bonded. ...and blessed.