“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”
October 4th is the famously recognized and celebrated “Saint Francis Day.” Some churches around the world and here in the United States may host animal blessing services. We hope they do, encourage your church to do so, and we pray that this happens more and more every year!
For today’s post, we are bringing you article 49 from Roslyne Smith’s book, “Animal Welfare: Through The Cross, A Collection of Animal Christian Concern Articles.” The book is a compilation of the work of Animal Christian Concern (ACC), and is also our “Feature Book” found on the side bar on this blog.
For those who do want to host animal blessings in the future and don’t know where to start, check out our resources for hosting them here.
SAINT FRANCIS GOT IT RIGHT
It is his Feast Day on October 4th.
So clear to all was his union with God that he was canonised by public acclaim two years after his death.
It can all be summed up in that poor suffering word “LOVE”, but St Francis got that right. Year after year he moved closer to God, and as he grew close to God he learned the true meaning of Love. His love for God was so great that it overflowed on to the heads of all God’s creatures. He did not take away some of his love of God to give it to the little band of brothers and sisters that surrounded him, or to give it to the lepers that he tended and to the people that he cherished. His love of God showed itself in his love for all those that he met.
Neither, did he take away his love from the men and women and children around him, in order to give some of it to the other creatures that came equally from God’s hands: to brother wolf who became his friend; to his sisters the birds to whom he preached; to all the animals of creation which he cherished.
It is one, great indivisible love which embraces God who is Love and everything that is touched by God’s creative hand.
Perhaps it is not easy for everyone to understand this. Recently we’ve had comments that, instead of concern for the animal world, we should be worrying about deprived children, about embryos on whom scientists wish to experiment, or about the unemployed and deprived amongst us humans.
It is not a question of either one or the other.
It is a question of NOT ONLY BUT ALSO.
A Christian does not parcel out love, a little bit here and a little bit there, until his supply is exhausted. He gives total love, abundant and overflowing, to all who come to him or need help — both animals and humans — and to God the Father and Creator of all.
By: Bishop Agnellus Andrew
Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan), Late Patron ACC
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