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  • Dog at the Manger

    As Christmas draws near, our thoughts turn to the stable in Bethlehem. We can imagine Mary and Joseph gazing in awe at the Christ Child, lying asleep in a manger. In fact, many renditions of the Nativity of Christ portray this very scene. The holy couple gazed at a slumbering newborn infant and knew they were seeing God.
    Ameil (“Doc”) Klein, postulant with the Confraternity of Penitents (2011), is currently in a battle with cancer for his life. His reflection, “Learning from Timmy,” follows as well as its connection to the Christmas miracle.
    “One of my dogs, a three-year-old little Coton de Tulear, is teaching me how to pray!
    “Back in the hospital again, with plenty of time to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the hospital chapel, I sometimes found my thoughts less than centered on God as they should be. I found myself thinking about Timmy. That, to be sure, is a bit unusual -- certainly inappropriate!
    “But then I realized that Timmy, when I'm home, often just sits in front of me, wagging his tail, looking at me with his big black eyes, obviously "telling" me how much he loves me. When he falls asleep, all I have to do is move, making a sound, and he looks up again and starts wagging his tail again.
    “In a sense, Timmy has shown me how to spend long periods of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Just, in a sense, wagging my tail, saying “I'm glad You're here. And thank You for loving me.”
    “I'm, of course, familiar with the hundreds of beautiful prayers written over the centuries in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They're all important statements of faith. But for me personally, Timmy's way is the most reverent.”
    Timmy’s adoring gaze at Doc must be akin to the adoration and awe in the gaze of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph as they could not take their eyes off the Infant Christ. When we approach the manger, or when we sit before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, perhaps we should be grateful if our attention is fixed on Jesus as Timmy’s is fixed on Doc. How wonderful to have deep, religious thoughts or to offer beautiful prayers of praise and adoration of Our Lord! But could it be more meritorious just to gaze on our Lord with love and devotion, recognizing Him as Master and sitting ready to serve Him, at His command? When we assemble our Nativity sets under our Christmas trees this year, perhaps we ought to place a little statue of a dog in the scene. That dog represents us.
    I was given a small figurine dog by my son one Christmas when he was about 12 yrs old...I gave him some money for Christmas and he went out and bought a dog and he liked it so much he still gave it to me as a gift that year. (he's 44 yrs old today). I still have it and thanks to this inspiring story I will put it in front of my Nativity scene......and remember Doc & my prayers... Christmas Blessings to all...... Fran (2011)
    Thanks to Doc Klein, the Confraternity of Penitents is pleased to offer a dog or dogs for your Nativity scene. The adult dogs shown below are made of hard plastic and are approximately 1 1/2" tall and 3" long. The puppies shown below are made of hard plastic and are approximately 1 1/4 inches tall and 3/4 inches high.
    Each figurine comes with a copy of the above story "Dog at the Manger."