Discover more from A Letter from Rocco
when poop shows up in the house
Rocco has been having a housebreaking regression recently. It’s been driving me absolutely nuts because it makes no sense.
I recently started leaving Rocco out of his crate when I leave the house. At first, I was nervous about this— what would he get into? Would he have accidents? What shape would the house be in when I returned?
But he’s been a perfect angel while I’ve been gone. It’s when I come home that’s the problem. We go for walks, he relieves himself, we come home and he looks at me while he relieves himself on the floor.
I’m over it. Remember when I mentioned that Rocco doesn’t remind me of God, he reminds me of me? I think that applies here.
Because, you see, God gives me a lot in my life. I have a job (in fact I even have a new one!), I have a home to live in, I have a truck to drive, and I have the absolute cutest dog in the world. But it’s not enough for me.
This isn’t so much about ingratitude, although I’m sure that some might see it that way. What this comes down to is that I have a vision of my life that does not match up with God’s.
Interestingly, I actually even have a vision of Rocco’s life that doesn’t match up with God’s vision of his life. Just last week, I was lamenting to one of my aunts that I do not give Rocco the life that he deserves. I don’t walk him enough. I don’t have a fenced in yard for him to run around. Often when he wants attention, I’m too busy watching reality tv.
Now the fact that he’s going in the house for attention is actually starting to make sense. Huh.
But when I was lamenting about this to my aunt, she stopped me in my tracks. She said, “You rescued him, remember? Someone didn’t want him anymore. He had cuts on him when you got him. You saved him from something. He knows that.”
Now, I’m not sure if Rocco really does know that, but I greatly appreciate the sentiment. And talking about rescuing, saving in a sense, reminds me naturally of Jesus.
I wonder if Jesus wants to give me the things that I want. I wonder if Jesus wants to heal me of my mental illness, if he does want to give me a big house or to make my job easier for me, and it pains him that it’s not actually what’s best for me. I wonder if he hears my complaints and instead of just brushing them off, if he weeps with me.
Today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy. The Gospel for the feast is that of doubting Thomas, the apostle who missed the appearance of the resurrected Jesus and demanded that he be able to touch his wounds before he believed.
I’m making it known right now: if Jesus miraculously heals me of my mental illness, I will definitely believe.
In the Gospel, Jesus comes to Thomas and tells him to place his hands in his wounds, “And no longer be unbelieving, but believe.” The thing about this Gospel that always gets me, though, is that it doesn’t say that Thomas actually did touch Jesus’ wounds. Jesus’ willingness to hold nothing back was enough to convict Thomas as he proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!”
This is Jesus’ mercy. It is not a mercy that takes everything away. It is a mercy that lets us touch his wounds. It’s a mercy that does not demand that we believe from a distance, without proof, but comes close and asks what it will take.
Jesus, if you’re listening, it would be great if Rocco would stop pooping in the house.
What’s interesting is that Jesus had actually already given Thomas many signs— Thomas certainly was there for many of Jesus’ healings and miracles, and we know for sure was there when Lazarus was RAISED FROM THE DEAD, and yet he still was willing to do more.
This is what is true of Jesus, always. He’s never done. He is never done inviting us to grow, to believe more, to leave behind sin and doubt. Even when we might wish that He would be done, He is our God, living and true, not watching us from a distance but intimately involved in our lives. This is divine mercy.
Rocco has regressed in one area (one VERY important area, Jesus) of his life. As his human, as someone who genuinely cares for him, I am not going to give up on him. I’m not going to hand him back to the shelter. However, I also am not going to let him keep going on like this. That’s Cecilia’s mercy.
I, like Rocco, often regress in various aspects of my life. Jesus doesn’t give up on me, but he also loves me too much to leave me there. Over and over again, it’s as though he asks me, “What will it take for you to trust me?”
The ultimate answer to this question is the Cross, where Jesus held nothing back for love of you and me. Because of our human frailty, though, we don’t always recognize that, so He came back, letting His followers stick their hands in His wounds. Because He knew that we would need more than that, He gave us Holy Communion, an opportunity when we can physically receive Him into our very bodies.
My merciful approach to Rocco’s housebreaking regression is absolute peanuts compared to Divine Mercy. It almost seems ridiculous to compare them.
What is not ridiculous is to compare Rocco pooping on the floor to sin. It’s not ridiculous to think of what God has done in our lives and how often we (myself included) completely forget about it, saying, “Jesus, unless you do x, I will not believe.”
The principle of Divine Mercy says that every single time, with great joy, Jesus will be there saying, “Yes, and what can I do for you, you who are the desire of my heart?” I don’t know about you, but I have more than a few things to learn from Him.
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