Someone told me at a church meeting about how Native Americans believed the deer offered themselves as food for the people because otherwise the people would have perished during the last great ice age.
Offered themselves. The people survived, not because of their great prowess as hunters, nor because of their good luck, or any other factor but that the deer loved them.
I believe it. I enter the woods clad in thermal long johns, gortex, insulated boots, etc, and armed with sophisticated weapons. Those ice-age hunters hunted with sharp sticks and stones, and went naked until they killed something. If the deer did not “offer themselves” as food, our ancestors would have starved to death the first winter.
St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, was the greatest deer hunter of his time, but he renounced it all to become a fulltime man of prayer when a huge buck appeared to him in the woods and instructed him to do so.
That is what I need. The buck that offered himself to me as food must appear to me and explain what happened. Until that time, I cannot even renounce hunting a la St. Hubert, because it would be disrespectful, petulant, and leave open the possibility that deer do not offer themselves, that they do not love us, even a little. I cannot accept that conclusion, not only because it empties the world of magic and meaning, but because it would mean the old people all starved to death during the last ice age, and we do not actually exist.
So I am waiting for that buck to tell me I do indeed exist, and why I was not permitted to accept his offering of himself as food.
If this were to occur, it would not be the first time that deer have brought messages to me, although it helps to be asleep.
ONE MORE THOUGHT... the last deer I killed was 17 years ago. I have been at St. Stephen's, Troy, for 16 years. Every November I am (more or less jokingly) informed that a significant number of my parishioners are "praying for the deer." Is there a connection here? 16 years of prayers may have bestowed invulnerabilty upon any bucks in my vicinity. But this would not resolve the matter... what would God want me to learn by granting such prayers?