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Sit in the Sun and Other Lessons in the Spiritual Wisdom of Cats

By Jon M. Sweeney

The new book by the prolific Jon M. Sweeney is the cat’s meow. Really.

Sweeney, known for studious explorations of St. Francis, has applied his intelligent noticing to the delectable world of cats. So what might my cat Livvie teach me about spirituality? Quite a lot, says Sweeney.

Thoughtful lessons fill the pages from “Surrender to Relax” to “Pounce Frequently.” The former: We rarely are taught how to relax. As Sweeney laments this, he suggests how surrender might be synonymous with relaxation. The latter: Find your pounce—that prompt to action we have internally—and do it. There, Sweeney suggests, is our joy.

Chapter 11’s “Refuse to be Tamed” especially pricked my curiosity. Sure, we all know this cat trait, but can it apply to us? Yes, and rather neatly too. Sweeney says, “We learn to better understand the mystery presence that is in each of us, and in other creatures, when we embrace that untamed quality.”

Cat anecdotes and thoughtful interfaith musings fill the chapters that end with spiritual practices. Sweeney is a longtime writer and cat owner. His many interfaith books include works like Feed the Wolf and The Complete Francis of Assisi. As I write, gray-haired Livvie sleeps with her paw on my left leg. She’s tucked between the sofa arm and me. This is her spot and her frequent posture in her old age. My gentle friend has carried the love of God to me. Of this, I’m sure. I’m also sure that spiritually minded cat-lovers will relish Sit in the Sun. (Broadleaf Books)

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