Thou Shall Not Kill!
“She couldn’t kill a fly” is literally true of my wife Jean.
A fly buzzes around me as I prepare something for us to eat. You would search in vain to find a flyswatter, much less flypaper, in our home. One of “God’s creatures“ she will say, “The fly did not ask to be trapped in the kitchen. Let it go free”. Easier said than done as we have screens on all windows and opening the door might let the cat out or invite more files in. The fly and I attempt to co-exist.
It doesn’t end with flies. Spiders, moths, mosquitoes and unnamed other crawling beings are similarly categorized as examples of the generous, creative power of God.
We humans are linked with mice, rats, chipmunks and the bird species, all of whom, once in our home or patio, are visitors to be treated according to the code of St. Benedict, that is, as if they were Christ. We must be attentive to their comfort and nutritional needs. Above all, we must not kill.
And when our cat corners a mouse Jean will fly to the rescue. The family is mobilized to gather up the mouse in something soft and comfortable to be escorted to the patio door to be set free. That the mouse, so well treated, and having praised the accommodations, may return with his friends bothers Jean not at all.
So, we welcome all creatures into our home as if they were Christ himself. Whether Christ himself, or one his disciples, ever swatted a mosquito or a fly, is not a subject open for discussion.
There is a certain sweetness and tenderness expressed here that is so characteristic of Jean. It springs from a deep Christian faith and an abiding sense of love for all of God’s creation that the prevailing ethos, or the infirmities of age, have not diminished.
It is a special grace that allows her to live now, daily, in the coming Kingdom of God where the lion will, one day, lie down with the lamb.