Among my introvert pastimes is a radio show on Monday evenings, featuring a French priest on Bible studies. I’m not particularly religious, but I like the Bible and I am absolutely a sucker for a beautiful voice. This priest’s voice is a little bit of heaven. I’m there every Monday evening enjoying my quiet time with the radio.
In January, he apologized for his voice. He had caught the flu. Oh, what a terrible flu! Of course he turned this to good account, because we’re studying the Book of Job. He could relate to how Job felt and suggested that we could, too.
He went on to tell us of the most unfortunate moment, on a Sunday morning, when he was so sick that he couldn’t fulfill his responsibilities at the monastery where he lives. He explained (in French) that he is “responsable du chat” – responsible for the cat. He was so sick that he could not meet this responsibility.
And yet, how charming of those priests to make this poor (old?) man feel useful – they put him in charge of the cat. It’s sad and sweet, in a way. And then the poor soul got sick and couldn’t look after the cat, how awful. He felt that he’d let the Community down. Another priest commiserated with him and said, much like one of Job’s comforters, ”If you’d looked after yourself you wouldn’t be sick.” Which made him feel even worse.
And then I realized.
He didn’t say “chat” – he said “chant.”
He’s not responsible for the cat – he’s responsible for the Gregorian chant – the choir.