Frances is one of my most favorite people in the world. She always tells it like it is, because that’s the way it is and there’s no other way to tell it. She’s the best. But then I interrupted her to say that she should teach me Polish, or better, Yiddish, not that she’s Jewish (but maybe she is). She knows my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are Jewish. She ran and got this book for me. One of my spies tells me that she actually got it for me a long time ago, but, instead of giving it to me, read it herself first since it seems that it’s quite humorous. And then she had to tell me that I’m getting famous as a donkey-priest. A common friend just published this children’s book which features three priests, her Pastor, dressed in cassock, then the Vicar for Education for the Diocese, dressed in Cassock, and then me, not dressed in anything…
Well, I’m dressed in a cross on my back. The donkey is named George in the book. Donkey’s are symbols of Israel as seen in literature of surrounding nations since time immemorial, way back into Old Testament times. Donkey’s give rides to the children of Israel, and specifically, in New Testament times, to Mary with baby Jesus, and then Jesus alone…
Donkey’s are always with the Holy Family. Going to Bethlehem, at the Crib, down to Egypt and back, bringing Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to be crucified… Jesus is the first born – as Saint Paul puts it – of the children of Israel. G.K. Chesterton puts it well:
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.
Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.