Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Old Furry Friends Remembered

“Moreover they should respect all creatures, animate and inanimate, which bear the imprint of the Most High, and they should strive to move from the temptation of exploiting creation to the Franciscan concept universal kinship.” (Art. 18, Secular Franciscan Order Rule)

Rev. Anne Robertson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society, recently shared on her blog, the sense of loss and sadness she experienced over the death of her dog. It brought to mind the number of dogs that have been a part of my family’s life. Some we got as pups; one came from a shelter; one was a purebred, the rest were mutts. One was a real chow hound, could hear a box of crackers being opened from upstairs. Another was easily frightened; she went into a panic one time when a blimp flew over our house. And one always knew how to strike a pose when a camera was pointed in his direction. All of them brought a lot of joy over the years.
The early biographies of the life of St. Francis never mention him being with dogs, just his encounter with the wolf. But all of them tell of his close relationship with other creatures, from lambs, to a hare, and a hawk, as well as other birds. But I can visualize him being followed through the Italian countryside by a small pack of dogs. And during his nights in the hermitage, there had to be least one cat curling up in his lap. He had this unique relationship with animals, birds and fishes, because he recognized them all as brothers and sisters of his, because they all shared the same Creator. He loved them all and in turn was loved by them.

A Blessing of the Animals

Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. On the fifth and sixth days of creation, you called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless the animals and all living creatures. By the power of your love, enable them to live according your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen

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