“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” Would you agree with this quote from the 19th century French writer known as Anatole France? From those precious pets, including my grand-dog Molly, to animals that we observe in nature, God gives us a variety of creatures to bring us such soul-awakening joy. The tiniest hummingbirds that stop at our feeders on the annual migration or the goofy squirrel doing calisthenics in the backyard – what gifts from God our creator they are!
St. Francis of Assisi is one who found such joy. He is said to have preached to his sister birds, using thoughts from the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 8, reminding the birds of the field that God provides all that is needed. German philosopher, Max Scheler, wrote of St. Francis, “Where the modern cynic sees something buglike in everything that exists, St. Francis saw even in a bug the sacredness of life.”
Often, as the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi nears in October, we bless the animals that we love as we consider the life-giving relationships with our pets. Truly life-giving as studies have shown that companion animals can reduce heart rate and have a calming effect on the body which lowers stress levels.
And there is an opportunity here in Beatrice for a blessing upon your pet. Join us on Sunday, October 3rd at 1:00 in the green space at St. John Lutheran Church, for the Blessing of the Animals. It is such a joy to connect with animals in this way. Over the years I have blessed quite a few: from an angry rooster in a cage to the sweetest pups and cats. Even a duck! And if you aren’t able to be there, blessing your pet is as easy as saying their name followed by: May God’s abundant blessing rest on my beloved pet, a companion with us in the journey of life.” Amen!