Last weekend, I was watching a TV Mass on YouTube from Heart of the Nation in Wisconsin. I enjoy the Masses from there, with a variety of priests and choirs rotating every few weeks.

In his homily last week, the celebrant told the story of a man, a not-so-well-to-do man, who worked at a local shrine. He enjoyed his work, and spent much of his day in prayer as he performed his chores.

One day the man was particularly overwhelmed by his dire financial straits and told the Lord that He should spend some time in his shoes so He would know what he’s going through. The Lord responded and said He would as long as the man took over for Him listening to myriad prayers from countless numbers of people. The man agreed. The Lord told the man that he could only listen, and not respond to the people. The man agreed.

It didn’t take long before the man was chomping at the bit to say things to people for various reasons, but he couldn’t. The man realized what the Lord goes through listening and answering prayers without speaking.

I bring this up because as I watched the Mass, snow was falling quite steadily this Super Bowl Sunday. I made sure to fill my bird feeder to insure my little friends would have a food source once the ground was covered, which happened quite quickly. It wasn’t long before the usual cast of characters appeared and started to go to town on the seed mixture. There were small wrens and juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, cardinals, and a squirrel.

Much like an all-you-can eat buffet with lobster newburg as the main feature, the feeder was empty in the blink of an eye.

Denise tells me all the birds in our neighborhood are chunky because of me. Hey, what’s good for the goose ….

Back to the story. The next morning, it was still snowing. It was bad enough the Cincinnati Bengals lost, but to have it still snowing wasn’t the way to start a Monday morning.

I looked out the window at the empty feeder and knew I had to restock it — even before I had my coffee. Denise calls me St. Francis. I disagree. No animals come and land on me. The only thing from an animal that can rest on my shoulder is — well, you get it. 

Again, I digress (I haven’t in a while, so grant me some leeway please). Wow, I’m digressing from my original digression. That’s a record for me.

Back to the story. I went out and filled the feeder again and I hadn’t even made back into the house when my friends reappeared.

I watched the for a while. I enjoy it. The smaller critters came first, many of them. Then the mourning doves. The two groups have an amicable relationship.

Then came the cardinals — still peace at the feeder. Next arrived a half-dozen or so blue jays. They appear to be higher on the pecking order than the others, who clear out and wait on branches for them to leave. It’s the squirrel that reigns supreme though — bullying the feathered creatures out of the picture.

When the jays arrived, I wanted to go out and shoo them away, and the same when the squirrel appeared. But then I thought of the homily I heard hours before. Were I to do that, I would be playing God.

I will never understand the reasoning for it, but there is an order in nature that sometimes seems cruel to me. But nature is God, and I am not. I left things status quo.

But later I discovered, and this wasn’t the first time, somehow a large pile of seeds ends up on the ground beneath the feeder and when that happens, all the parties take part, keeping the nature-made distance apart. Maybe it’s all in my head, because there is a lot going on in there, but it does happen. Maybe it’s God showing me the proper method for taking care of His creatures — leave things alone Dave. I’ll handle it.