The other day we found an injured owl at The Lord’s Ranch. It had a damaged wing and could not fly, and we were concerned about its well-being. Mike Halloran and his daughter, Rebekah, were able to catch it, and they brought it home and called the Game and Wildlife agency for help. Someone came out, examined the wounded bird and felt that it had a chance of being rehabilitated, so took it away to care for.
One thing I learned from Father Rick Thomas was to reflect on events, what happens in life, and to ask the Lord what He wants to say through them. I’m sure he learned this from the teaching of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who encouraged the practice of a daily examen — to go back over the day and see where God was moving and what He was trying to show us. Father Thomas used to say that Jesus was still using parables to teach His disciples, but that we needed to think about things and pay attention to the Holy Spirit’s instruction (see another parable that I wrote about concerning a bird at the Ranch).
So I reflected on this owl that the Lord let us find and help. What was the message or the parable that He was trying to get across to us?
I did a little research on owls and discovered these characteristics that they have:
- excellent hearing — their uniquely shaped faces can funnel sounds to their ears so they can detect small animals great distances away
- binocular vision — they have sharp, keen vision and can hunt even in complete darkness
- alertness — they can rotate their heads almost completely around (270 degrees) and follow whatever they are tracking without moving their bodies
- discerning — after ingesting their prey, they regurgitate what their bodies cannot digest
As I pondered these qualities, various Scriptures came to mind where Jesus urged His disciples to stay alert and aware.
Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Mark 13:33-37
We live in stormy times. Our Lady, in her apparitions over the years, has repeatedly asked us to join her in praying for our world. But Satan wants us passive, lulled to a sleep, not keeping watch. I think the Lord sent this owl into our midst, up close and viewable, as a wake-up call to not let our guards down, to keep praying and not lose heart. Even when things get darker, more violent, spinning out of control in our world, we are called to be sentinels and beg the Lord for mercy.
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”