Monday, 3 October 2011

Blessing the Animals

We had the blessings of the animals yesterday. It was a case of where two or three four footed creatures are gathered together Christ was in our midst. I have attached some pictures of the events. This morning I have been reflecting on the our animal companions and how they part of modern life and the Christian attitude to them. I must admit that I am neither a dog nor a cat person although the cats who have been in my life seemed to instinctively believe that they had a spiritual bond with them that I was often not aware of. At times I have had uncharitable thought about the resources that are spent in our society on pets (or animal companions as they are now referred to in full political correctness). As someone who on occasion spent small fortunes on pet care I have wondered could that money not have been better spent on the poor and underprivileged. Of course I also hear the echo of Judas’ words when Mary was so extravagant in her anointing of Jesus' feet with expensive oil? And on reflection that is the key. Are we on Judas’ side or Jesus’ side? There are aspects of lives that cannot be measured in dollars and cents but rather in sense and sensibility. If that was not true probably no one would be a Christian as there is little monetary payoff in belonging to an organization that in which the collection plate is passed around every Sunday.
I was reminded yesterday that animals provide much comfort and companionship in people’s lives. I believe they are so pervasive in society because they are earthly example of what God offers us – unconditional forgiveness and grace and mercy. This was well expressed in a reflection on St. Francis’ life by Father Patrick Tuttle: “His contemplation led him to consider the delicate nature of humanity’s freedom. As he did so, he noticed that the creatures around him were less free than he was. They seemed to obey the will of the creator perfectly. While he sensed periodic inhumanity in himself, he never sensed that same betrayal of nature within creatures. His fascination inspired him to understand his own nature that he might obey it as the animals obeyed their nature. He blessed them for their beauty and obedience. They taught him, and led him to seek God’s will for his own life.” Let us remember to give thanks for the blessings which people receive from their non-human companions in all shapes and sizes and species.

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