Wednesday Word: Animals
In the second story of creation (Gen. 2:4b - 25), God creates a solitary human to care for the garden of Eden. Recognizing it is not good that the human is alone, God proceeds to create every animal in an effort to find a suitable helper and partner, but "there was [none] found . . ."
But just because animals were not found to be suitable helpers and partners doesn't mean they can't be suitable helpers; or suitable companions. Guide dogs, sled dogs, and rescue dogs come to mind. As do purring cats and ranch horses.
In short, we love our animals. Often to such an extent that some people will use them as a guide to who they are willing to date (love me, love my dog). And when we lose an animal due to death or running away, it often leaves a large empty spot in our heart. An article in the mental health section of Scientific American (5/22/18) states that, "Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months, with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average)."
We love our animals.
To honor that relationship, every year on or around the Feast of St. Francis (October 4), we offer a service of the Blessing of the Animals. In part because Francis had a theology that saw God in every aspect of creation and it was our duty to care for and protect it
As protectors and caretakers of our animals, it is appropriate that we also make time to bless them. So this Sunday, October 6, we will once again offer the Blessing of the Animals. You are encouraged to bring your pet, or pets, to be blessed during the service. This will take place immediately after the Peace and before the Offertory.
Dogs should be on leashes, cats in cages, and other critters appropriately restrained -- we don't want a repeat of the squirrel incident in Pascagoula (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K16fG1sDagU).
I hope to see you and your pet this Sunday.