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Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

PETS ARE A BLESSING

This past Sunday I participated with the pastor of Trinity Episcopal
Church and the interim pastor of Grace Lutheran in the blessing of
pets at the dog park. This has become our yearly cooperation in honor
of St. Francis of Assisi and most importantly in thanksgiving to God
for the companionship God has given us in animals.

From the beginning of our sacred story in Genesis in chapter two when
the Creator decided it was not good for Adam to be alone in the
wonderful garden where God walked with him. Even with God's own
company, man was alone. So first he created the animals to be a
"helper" or companion. Of course they were not enough for man, so God
fashioned Eve and the two would be as one.

This is much more than a "cute" folksy story. It is a recognition of
the deep connection we as human beings have with animals. More than
commodities or helpers in working the fields they can be companions.
From the birds of the air, to the fish in the sea, to animals at the
race track or in a hunt, animals have been throughout all of history a
form of connection that gives comfort to our loneliness.

Blessing is a form of thanksgiving. This is more easily seen in the
Hebrew language. The root of thanksgiving and blessing are the same.
Thus the blessing of a thing whether it be it for Catholics an icon or
for Protestants their bibles or the blessing of creatures is a form of
acknowledgment of God's goodness to us.

Having a connection with a pet gives a deeper respect for life
especially of all creation. Recall that the Creator gave Adam the task
of naming all creatures. Naming implies knowledge and also
relationship or intimacy. Think how much thought parents give in
naming their child. Think what it means when friends give each other a
"nickname". Thus humankind is to have knowledge of and relationship to
all creatures. The beginning of scientific knowledge is the
classification and naming of things.

Most pet owners know that if their pet rejects a person then they
should be cautious and leery of letting that person into their home.
Dogs may bark to protect their territory but when they take a more
assertive stance it means trouble.

It is always amazing how much animals of all kind seem to be able to
"sniff" out a person's character. Even more amazing are the stories of
pets who care for the sick and some who even know when someone is
dying. Such stories are often told and shared on one media or the
other.

Letting children have pets is a sure way of teaching them
responsibility but more importantly compassion and respect. We know
intuitively the way one treats an animal is the way they would treat a
human being. Our pets rely heavily on us for their very survival and
we gain their loyalty, companionship, and love in exchange. Parents
understand the value of the lessons learned by their child when
granted their wish for that first dog, cat, parakeet, etc.


So if you haven't taken the time lately to thank God for the gift of
your pet(s), then take a moment now to say a word of blessing, and
give thanks that you are indeed blessed. In good times and bad, you
have a creature of God that enriches your life.

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