Thoughts on the Resurrection II:
How Jesus Isn’t Lazarus
Resurrection can become for each of us a daily experience.
Every slight pain, every small anxiety, misunderstandings, disappointments,
and life’s contradictions—all of these are experiences of little deaths.
Our daily hurts, every one of them, have within them the joy of the resurrection.
–Cardinal Basil Hume
The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45) prepares us for the raising of Jesus. It is what John calls a “sign” or a symbol of the resurrection. And yet what’s so important about the raising of Lazarus is how different it is from the resurrection itself.
We see Lazarus walk out of the tomb, but we don’t see Jesus. Jesus is gone by the time we get there. The tomb is empty.
When Lazarus walks out of the tomb we know it’s Lazarus. It’s obvious. It’s him. But when Jesus rises and appears to people, even people who knew him before, even his friends, they don’t recognize at first. Mary Magdalene thinks he’s the gardener. The disciples are fishing and see a figure by a fire on shore and that’s all they see at first.
Lazarus doesn’t come through locked doors. He doesn’t come through walls. He doesn’t appear and then vanish.
And he will die again. Just like anyone else.
But not Jesus. Not Jesus. He will never die. He will ascend.
This is the most important difference of all: that the raising of Lazarus is good news only to him and to his family. It doesn’t change anything except for him. But what happens on the third day after the crucifixion of Jesus radically alters the very nature of reality for all of humanity forevermore.
“If in Jesus’ resurrection we were dealing simply with the miracle of a resuscitated corpse,” Pope Benedict says, “it would ultimately be of no concern to us.” “It would be,” he says, “no more important than the resuscitation of a clinically dead person through the art of doctors.” This is from Benedict’s book Jesus of Nazarethand it echoes The Catechism in every detail. “The New Testament testimonies,” as he puts it, “leave us in no doubt that what happened was utterly different.” The Resurrection of Jesus–and I’m quoting here still–“was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming but lies beyond it—a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence.” It was not “an isolated event” but what the pope, in a really striking phrase, calls “an evolutionary leap.”
In the Resurrection “a new possibility of human existence is attained that affects everyone and that opens up a future, a new kind of future.”
Wow. Powerful, striking stuff. As my late friend and colleague Marc Borg often used to say, if we went back in a time machine, if we could actually stand before the tomb, we couldn’t really videotape the Resurrection, we couldn’t actually see it directly, and though as Catholics we disagree with some of Marc’s ideas and the ideas of the Jesus Seminar, I think this is exactly what Pope Benedict is saying, too, and what the Catechism tells us and what the raising of Lazarus tells us. This wasn’t just a physical event. The gospel accounts of the resurrection are a kind of literary shorthand for something far more profound.
But we have to be careful. We have to immediately qualify this. Because as contemporary people we are so used to thinking in either/or terms that we immediately think, well then, the Resurrection was just an idea, it was just a feeling, it didn’t really happen. No. No. The gospel writers knew the difference between a dream or a vision and a real event and they don’t call the resurrection a dream or a vision, and we have to take them at their word. When people did recognize Jesus they recognized him. When the encountered him after the resurrection they could touch him. Thomas put his hands in the wounds. On the shore of the lake he made the fishermen breakfast. No. This was real, absolutely real.
Indeed [Pope Benedict says] indeed, the apostolic preaching with all its boldness and passion would be unthinkable unless the witnesses had experienced a real encounter, coming to them from outside . . . Only a real event of a radically new quality could possibly have given rise to the apostolic preaching, which cannot be explained on the basis of speculations or inner, mystical experiences.
The Resurrection, in other words, was historical. It happened. The disciples aren’t making it up. The Church in all its courage and conviction could never have come from a mere idea and it could never have lasted until now if all there was here was a metaphor.
What Pope Benedict is saying and what the Catechism is saying is that the Resurrection wasn’t just historical. It was more than historical. Again, I’m going to quote the Pope. Just one more time. I want to get this right:
Naturally there can be no contradiction of clear scientific data. The Resurrection accounts certainly speak of something outside our world of experience. They speak of something new, something unprecedented—a new dimension of reality that is revealed. What already exists is not called into question. Rather we are told that there is a further dimension, beyond what was previously known. Does that contradict science? Can there really only ever be what there has always been? Can there not be something unexpected, something unimaginable, something new? If there really is a God, is he not able to create a new dimension of human existence, a new dimension of reality altogether?
Well, I know I’ve been risking your patience. This is all pretty abstract and complicated. But here at the end of this last quotation we get to the real point, to the wonderful implication, to the astonishingly good news: something unexpected, something new has happened, and it’s happening in your life right now. Something new has happened inside of you, too.
Because you, too, are making an evolutionary leap. You, too, believe that there is more to life than biology, more than the merely physical, more than the digital and the industrial and the relentlessly commercial, more than your sins, more than doubt and anger and violence and greed. It’s happened in you, a new faith, a new hope, and it’s happened because of the Resurrection, because of what happened 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, because what happened then was real, more real than anything that has ever happened and ever will happen, and it is still real, it is still happening, in you and in me and in the Eucharist and in all of us here. We are the Body of Christ, we are the Risen Lord, He is in us and we are in Him, and like Mary and like Martha we know now, we really know, that we, too, will never die, that Jesus is the resurrection and the life, we will never die, we will live forever, we really know that, we really believe that, because we feel it now, it’s happening now, in this place.
We are already living forever, because the Lord who has risen is risen indeed, is truly risen, and his life and his goodness and his beauty fill all the universe, fill every atom, fill and overflow and transcend every quark, every Higgs-Boson, now and forevermore.
Thoughts on the Resurrection (I):
The Beauty and Open-Endedness of the Catechism
Resurrection can become for each of us a daily experience.
Every slight pain, every small anxiety, misunderstandings, disappointments,
and life’s contradictions—all of these are experiences of little deaths.
Our daily hurts, every one of them, have within them the joy of the resurrection.
–Cardinal Basil Hume
If the Resurrection is just this weird thing that happened a long time ago, I don’t care about it. If the Resurrection is just this spooky, sort of supernatural thing involving this one man in the first century, what’s the point?
But the Resurrection isn’t just that. It’s far more profound and real than that.
I think too often people don’t know how beautiful and profound the Catechism really is, and what it says about the Resurrection is the best example of that. The Church is always celebrating the mystery, not reducing it.
No one was an eyewitness to Christ’s resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb . . . still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history (647).
Let me try to unpack this a little. There are three important things here and throughout what the Catechism teaches about the Resurrection.
First, the Resurrection was more than a physical event, more than a mere resuscitation. Jesus can be touched sometimes. Thomas touches his wounds—on his hands, in his side. He is not a ghost, he is not a hallucination. But there are also times when Jesus can’t be touched, when he comes through walls, as he does in both Luke and John, or when he vanishes, when he just disappears, as he does in the great story of the travelers to Emmaus, in Luke. And even when Jesus is present in some kind of discernible way, it’s really significant that people don’t always recognize him, even people who knew him in his former life. You have to be open to seeing him. You have to have imagination and receptivity and faith.
Second, the Resurrection is not just a single event. It didn’t just happen once. The Church is open to the idea that the gospel accounts are a kind of literary shorthand for a realization and a joy and a faith that took several generations to unfold and that is still unfolding. As the great Catholic scripture scholar Luke Timothy Johnson puts it, the Resurrection of Jesus was not “simply a matter of visions and appearances to selected individuals. . . . The experience cannot be confined to such sporadic events.” In fact,
The Resurrection faith that gave birth to Christianity was rooted in a complex combination of experience and conviction. The experience was that of transforming, transcendent, personal power, a power that altered not only the consciousness but the very status of those experiencing it.
Something happened inside the early Christians, something profound. You can see it in the record of their courage and their joy, even in the face of great persecution, and you can see it still, in us, on our good days, at our best moments.
That’s the third and final point: that the Resurrection is not just outer but inner, not just something that happened long ago but something that is happening now, inside of all of us. The scholars don’t have to dig up the tombs. They just have to come here. They just have to come to Church. Because we are the body of Christ, we are the Resurrection, we are the living proof of it, no matter how weak and partial and stumbling our faith often is. We’re here. And we’re here because in some way we have felt joy. We’re here because in some way at some point in our lives we have been moved, we have been given the peace that Jesus gives his frightened disciples today in Luke.
This is what the Churches teaches about the Resurrection. That it’s not just a symbol, it’s not just an idea. That it’s far more profound, far more real than that. And that it’s far more profound than the merely physical, too, far more real than the merely scientific, the merely historical, the merely measurable.
Just as the cross is a lens, the Resurrection is a lens. The Resurrection is a kind of logic. A kind of discipline.
If we’ve lost our job, if we’ve lost our marriage, if we’ve lost our hope, yes, that suffering if real and we have to go through it. But there’s more. That’s not all there is. There is also joy, there is also faith, there is also reason for happiness, and we have to hold ourselves to that, discipline ourselves to that: not be downhearted, even now, not be devastated, even when life devastates us. Why are we anxious, finally? Why are we sad? On what have we staked our hope and desire? On what are we counting?
If we feel lost, if we feel ignored by God, we have to think again. God isn’t ignoring us, we’re ignoring him. We’re looking in all the wrong places. If we doubt the Resurrection, if we doubt the source of the disciples’ first joy, we have to think again. We have look again, and in a new way. The Resurrection is going on all around us, in the beauty of the spring, in the gift of our friends, in the smallest, simplest moments, the moments we overlook and discount because they’re not big enough for us, not good enough. But no. These little moments are enough. They are beautiful and real and important, and they are here and they are all that’s here, just the present moment, just the present, and that’s everything, that’s the whole universe, that’s the whole cosmos, that’s Jesus Christ himself coming through the walls of our merely empirical minds, if only we will let him, if only we will surrender our stupid versions of things, if only we will die to our small and petty selves. He is risen. He is here. He is now.
A few days ago I was leading a Rosary after daily mass for a small group of parishioners, mostly older. They were sitting in the pews on the far side, near the tabernacle, and as I stood in front in my alb and stole, joining in the back-and-forth of the Hail Mary’s, I began to feel a love rising up in me for those people. An admiration.
And I was grateful for this feeling–it was a gift–because I haven’t always felt this way.
I think that as deacons we are all tempted by what Pope Francis, in the second chapter of Gaudete et Exsultate: Rejoice and Be Glad, callsthe “two subtle enemies of holiness”: Gnosticism and Pelagianism.
Particularly when we are first ordained we are often so excited by the intellectual beauty of Catholic theology that all we want to do is talk about it, and that’s fine, except when we begin to promote certain ideas over others or become so abstract that we lose track of the real world of our parish. We get caught up in ecological theology or the theology of the body, the primacy of the pope or the faith of the people, the idea of Biblical forms or the fact of the historical Jesus. And not just caught up but convinced. We have the answers and other people need to be educated.
This is what Pope Francis calls “Gnosticism,” a faith of pure ideas. “Gnostics think that their explanation can make the entirety of the faith and the Gospel perfectly comprehensible,” he says, and more, “they absolutize their own theories and force others to submit to their way of thinking.” Reason is necessary and reason is good but it can only go so far. “God infinitely transcends us,” the Pope says, “he is full of surprises,” and those surprises aren’t reserved for the smart and the educated. The Rosary may seem too simple, but it isn’t. The people may seem too pious, but they aren’t. Beneath these simple, pious acts there is often a genuine and abiding faith, a real experience of God, too deep for words.
Particularly when we’re first ordained we can be so excited about wearing an alb and a stole we begin to think we’re pretty special. We’re pretty advanced. This is the second evil, of Pelagianism, and for deacons it often comes in the form of clericalism. We’re servants, but we want people to see us being servants. We preach that all depends on the mercy of God but deep down we don’t believe it at first. And “ultimately,” as the Pope puts it, this “lack of a heartfelt and prayerful acknowledgement of our limitations prevents grace from working more effectively within us.”
Time of course usually takes care of this. We fail too often. We’re humbled by some quiet act of self-sacrifice on the part of someone we looked down on. But pride always lurks. Without quite knowing it, for example, we let ourselves be politicized, becoming the “conservative” deacon or the “liberal” deacon, proud of the purity of our convictions. We become attached to a particular form of liturgy, or offended by a particular form of liturgy, and that justifies our righteousness. We criticize our pastor, behind his back. We criticize our bishop. We criticize whatever group we don’t like, in or out of the parish.
No. The grace of this small moment after daily mass, in the give-and-take of the Rosary, is the grace of so many small moments in our ministries as deacons, when the eyes of the people are not on us, when the words we speak are not our own. It’s a grace—we don’t earn this either, this temporary reprieve from our egos–but it keeps coming to us, and it changes us over time, or can, so that now and then for just a moment Mary truly is our model.
And she doesn’t ask us to look at her. She asks us to look at her son.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
I don’t think I can explain this very well.
But on either end of the lid that covers the Ark of the Covenant described in the Old Testament, in Exodus (25:17-22), there is a golden cherub spreading out its wings, and beneath those wings and above the lid there is an empty space. A gap.
And the Jews called this lid “The Mercy Seat,” because it was there, in the space beneath the wings, in the gap above the ark itself, that the Lord God of Israel promised to appear and deliver all this commands.
“There I will come and meet you,” the Lord says in Exodus.
The Mercy Seat.
It was more like a window, really. A framed opening.
And this is how God comes into our lives, too, in the gaps, in the spaces: those moments of silence, those moments when we look up from our work, those moments when we stop and think, those moments when something interrupts us, snaps us out of whatever trance we’re in,those moments often of tragedy and sorrow and grief.
“If God is here at all,” Abbott Jeremy writes in A Monk’s Alphabet, “then it would have to be in the quality of something like ‘between the lines’ of things and persons, of something like the desire that others awaken in us but never satisfy, of something like a hidden radiance that we are longing to see, whose presence we sometimes suspect, but never see.”
Our lives seem empty sometimes. There seems to be an emptiness in our hearts–in another passage in A Monk’s Alphabet Jeremy talks about sometimes feeling as if there’s a “black hole” inside him–but this is a place of mercy, this an opening into mercy, into love, because it’s here, when we are emptied out, when we are the most unsure, the most in need, that Jesus comes and Jesus speaks and Jesus heals us.
Jesus is the source of all mercy, he is mercy itself, and he comes to us and he touches us, and we touch him, exactly in these gaps, in this emptiness.
Once a week I get up early and drive to church for an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. And promptly fall asleep. Nod off, before the Blessed Sacrament. Sometimes I wake myself up with my snoring.
And what Pope Francis says in the first chapter of his most recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, “Rejoice and Be Glad,” is that I’m on the path of holiness. I don’t have to be perfect, and I can’t be. I just have to do the best I can and trust in God, because it’s not we who are ever holy. It’s Christ in us. “When you feel the temptation to dwell on your own weakness,” the Pope says, “raise your eyes to Christ crucified and say: ‘Lord, I am a poor sinner, but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better.”
This is freeing advice, wonderfully freeing, but it’s also very challenging. For one thing, I don’t have any excuses anymore. I have to get going. And for another, to be holy doesn’t mean doing grand and noble things that will get me a lot of attention. It means slogging along in my ordinary life day to day, and not just at church but at home and in my job and in my own heart.
The Pope talks about the holiness of our next-door neighbors, of the woman, for example, who refuses to gossip in the checkout line, who cares for her family even when she’s completely worn out, and as deacons we all know women like this. The Church is always being attacked for its hypocrisy and rigidity, but when I think of the Church I think of all the people I know who are building wheelchair ramps, or stocking shelves at St. Vincent de Paul, or caring for a husband with Alzheimer’s or a disabled child. I think of countless, quiet acts of heroism. Of self-sacrifice.
The path is different for each of us. The Pope stresses this again and again: “each in his or own way.” I know a writer who makes the sign of cross before she opens her laptop. I know a woodworker who makes the sign of the cross as he enters his shop. All work done with integrity and skill is holy, because Christ is present in all that is good. Just being patient is an act of holiness, one of the hardest of all—with the telemarketer, with the tailgater, with the homeless person sleeping in the passageway. “We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves,” and this is a call that as deacons we are in special position to celebrate, as we are men who often have families and ordinary jobs and so know firsthand that prayer isn’t just kneeling in a shaft of stained-glass light, that we are always deacons, or are supposed to be, even when we’re not wearing our albs and stoles.
And so, still groggy, I stop for two Americanos with cream on the way home from Adoration, and when I walk through the door my wife is on the deck, watering the marigolds and the delphiniums. It’s a cool, summer morning, and suddenly I’m filled with joy, a quiet joy, because this is the point: that God exists, the Resurrection is real, here and now, and holiness is the stumbling, human effort simply to be aware of that, to glimpse that, if even for just a moment. Your life is a “mission,” the Pope says, the entirety of it, and “the Lord will bring it to fulfilment despite your mistakes and missteps.” We just have to try to stay awake a little bit longer each week, before the Blessed Sacrament. We just have to rejoice and be glad, for the marigolds and the delphiniums and all the things in our lives.
We are only the farmer, and the seeds we plant grow in the night, in the darkness, we know not how.
We are not the source of holiness or of grace, God is, and He neither slumbers nor sleeps.
The Solemnity of the Ascension, May 13, 2018
The Archdiocese of Portland has instituted a few new rules for giving and receiving communion, effective the feast of Corpus Christi, next month.
I’ve been reflecting on these changes lately, and I want to suggest that they are a call to holiness, for all of us, even those of us who think they’re unnecessary and problematic—and especially for us.
Let me just list a few ideas.
–The call is to decide to think of these changes in their best light, as motivated by a real desire to deepen reverence for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist–without at the same time abandoning our doubts or our critical thinking.
–The call is to enter into these changes with an attitude of joy and inclusiveness and with the hope that this generous attitude will spread. To try to transform these changes from the inside out.
–The call is to keep remembering that the theology behind these changes isn’t based on the idea that the priest is holier than we are but on the idea that whoever the priest is he is a sacrament, a conduit, a broken vessel as we are all broken vessels. It’s to not be literal: to insist on seeing the renewed emphasis on the actions of the priest (and the deacon) at mass as a re-emphasis on Christ, on his astonishing gift, his overflowing grace.
–The call is to take our uneasiness with these changes as an invitation to give up our own fastidiousness about liturgy, our own rigorism, because we can all be inflexible about style and method, whatever our tastes and preferences.
–The call is to not be distracted. To get to the center. To see through the clutter, including our own clutter, to the light at the heart of things, to the love at the heart of things, to Christ blessed, broken, and given every mass and every moment, however many obstacles we put in the way–and we are always putting obstacles in the way, not just in liturgy but in our own daily lives.
–The call is not to sweat the small stuff.
–Even if the mass were perfect by our own standards, even if it fit our style exactly, we’d still have to get up in the morning and look at ourselves in the mirror and face our own sinfulness, our own limitations. In fact, maybe that’s the problem, that thinking about these changes and resisting them is a lot easier than sitting with our own emptiness, or our own need.
–Augustine used the image of the finger pointing at the moon. It’s the moon we should be looking at.
–At the heart of the teaching of the Church is a belief in the dignity of each human person and the sanctity of individual conscience. We have to think. We have to enter in. The Church is us and the Church is the hierarchy, back and forth over time, in conversation. We take turns correcting each other.
–But that means that those of us who tend to emphasize the role of the people in the mass, sacramentally and theologically, need to be corrected now and then, too.
–Maybe some of these changes can help us counter any inner laziness that may have settled in as we’ve been going through the mass in our usual ways.
In the end, I think, all of these issues and problems–how many Eucharistic ministers there are, or whether or not we should dip our fingers in a little bowl of water after we give communion, or what the inside of a pyx should be made of–all of these things and the feelings they invoke in us are a great gift, really, because whenever something in the liturgy or in the Church bothers and irritates and disappoints us, Christ is trying to get our attention. He’s saying: no,I’m right here. I’m standing right next to you.
Or to use the imagery of today’s feast, of the Ascension: Why do we have our heads in the clouds?
Jesus has ascended into heaven, he has gone away, but he’s coming back and he’s already here, this has already happened and is always happening, Jesus is always leaving and he is always coming, and the Spirit is coming, too, Pentecost is near, the Spirit is about to whoosh in and fill us with language and hope, and that Spirit is inside of us, is always inside, and that Spirit is Christ, too, in all his reality, and so he is in us, wherever else he is, he is in all of us.
So we need to stop looking at the wrong things. We need to stop trying to rise into heaven ourselves, above the messiness of our everyday lives in the world and in the Church.
We have to get back to work.
With joy. Always with joy. With humility and joy.
from Gaudete et Exsultate, “Rejoice and Be Glad,” the latest apostolic exhortation from Pope Francis
When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road. They may well be false prophets, who use religion for their own purposes, to promote their own psychological or intellectual theories. God infinitely transcends us; he is full of surprises. We are not the ones to determine when and how we will encounter him; the exact times and places of that encounter are not up to us. Someone who wants everything to be clear and sure presumes to control God’s transcendence.
Nor can we claim to say where God is not, because God is mysteriously present in the life of every person, in a way that he himself chooses, and we cannot exclude this by our presumed certainties. Even when someone’s life appears completely wrecked, even when we see it devastated by vices or addictions, God is present there. If we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit rather than our own preconceptions, we can and must try to find the Lord in every human life. This is part of the mystery that a gnostic mentality cannot accept, since it is beyond its control.
It is not easy to grasp the truth that we have received from the Lord. And it is even more difficult to express it. So we cannot claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives. Here I would note that in the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they “help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word”. It is true that “for those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance, this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion”Indeed, some currents of gnosticism scorned the concrete simplicity of the Gospel and attempted to replace the trinitarian and incarnate God with a superior Unity, wherein the rich diversity of our history disappeared.
In effect, doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, “is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries… The questions of our people, their suffering, their struggles, their dreams, their trials and their worries, all possess an interpretational value that we cannot ignore if we want to take the principle of the incarnation seriously. Their wondering helps us to wonder, their questions question us”
from an article in America on the new encyclical from Pope Francis, Rejoice and Be Glad
“We cannot claim that our way of understanding this truth authorizes us to exercise a strict supervision over others’ lives,” he writes, reminding believers that “in the Church there legitimately coexist different ways of interpreting many aspects of doctrine and Christian life; in their variety, they ‘help to express more clearly the immense riches of God’s word.’”
“For those who long for a monolithic body of doctrine guarded by all and leaving no room for nuance,” he says, “this might appear as undesirable and leading to confusion.”
He insists, however, that “doctrine, or better, our understanding and expression of it, is not a closed system, devoid of the dynamic capacity to pose questions, doubts, inquiries… The questions of our people, their suffering, their struggles, their dreams, their trials, and their worries, all possess an interpretational value that we cannot ignore if we want to take the principle of the incarnation seriously.”
He saw it crumpled on the side of the road and thought at first it was a dog. But when he stopped and took a closer look, he saw the tufted ears and the broad, flat nose, the dusty, spotted fur, and he knew it was a bobcat, and he knew it wasn’t dead, it was battered and bloody, but it wasn’t dead, it was breathing, the flanks heaving up and down.
So he got to his knees, and he took the bobcat in his arms—it was smaller than he thought it would be, and lighter—it was panting, and rank, and warm—and he gently laid it on the backseat of his car. Wrapping it in a towel, maybe. Putting his hands, for a moment, in the dusty fur.
Then he slipped behind the wheel and drove—to where? A clinic? A shelter? I’m not sure—I don’t know what was in his mind—and I don’t remember what happened next, as he was driving, when he looked into his mirror and saw the bobcat beginning to stir, opening one yellow eye, flexing one velvet paw, whether he stepped on the accelerator and drove faster, or pulled over again and opened the back door and crouched behind it, waiting for the bobcat to slink away.
I don’t remember now how the story ended, and I don’t think it matters. I don’t think this is a funny story.
A bobcat lay on the side of the road, battered and panting and warm, and it was splendid. It was wild.
And he stopped. He knelt before it. He took it in his arms.