The words, “God” and “Dog” are a semordnilap (there’s a trivia nugget for you!), which occurs when one word spells a completely different word backwards. There’s really no comparison between God and a dog, and there never could be, but a trip to Confession yesterday got me thinking.
A little background…
My pastor sometimes brings his dog with him during Confession hours on Saturdays in the church. Father’s joke never gets old, either… “The dog’s under the seal!” For those who aren’t familiar, “the seal” is the seal of Confession, whereby a priest is obliged by the severest possible consequences to keep private those things which he hears confessed by the penitent. Naturally, a dog repeating the sins of a penitent is an impossibility, but it’s still funny to hear him say it. It’s one of the endearing things about our pastor.
When the dog is there, it’s excited to see each new penitent (or I assume so since it’s always excited to see me!). It wags its tail vigorously and does all the things friendly dogs do, you know? It’s well-behaved, so it never jumps on me or anything like that, but it sure seems pumped. Inevitably, Father calls the obedient dog to his side and it lays down next to him. It almost appear as if it’s listening, with its brows moving and ears perking as I speak. The dog doesn’t judge or condemn. It doesn’t get sad or angry. The dog doesn’t lash out at me. It silently allows the confession of my sins to fall upon it and then, guess what? It’s over. Father gives me my penance and absolution, and the dog wants to say goodbye as I leave.
What is it about God and a dog?
God’s no dog, and a dog is certainly not God, but I invite you to learn now from my pastor’s dog.
God and a dog may seem like they have little in common, but consider the following:
- It excites God when we turn away from our sins and toward Him
- He is patient with us – though He knows our sins already, He listens to us because He knows it’s good for us to get it all out of our systems
- God refuses to judge or berate us – Confession is a Sacrament of His Mercy
- He so often makes His presence felt in the form of consolation when as we walk out of the confessional
Doesn’t all that sound an awful like my pastor’s dog? I could go on about loyalty, companionship, and the like, but you get the point, I’m sure.
I know not everyone is a dog person. No pets live in my house these days either. That said, I hope this little post is an invitation to allow yourself to marvel and wonder at all the creatures God places in your path. Think on why He puts them there, when He puts them there, and how He puts them there. Surely nothing is an accident. Everything has a reason behind it.