Thursday was October 4, which is, in the Christian calendar, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. There is much to admire about St. Francis. He was born into a wealthy family, but he walked away from that (there’s a whole story about Francis stripping naked to give his clothes back to his father). The new Pope has taken his name from St. Francis, which tells us a lot about this Pope. But this isn’t a post about Pope Francis. This is about St. Francis. And animals.
St. Francis is associated with animals. He’s associated with miracles in which he was able to communicate with animals. So it’s traditional to have a blessing of the animals on the feast day of St. Francis, or on the Sunday following the feast day of St. Francis.
So yesterday, I conducted an animal blessing at my teaching congregation. A few people brought their pets, or representations of their pets. I read The Canticle of the Creatures, (also known as The Canticle of Brother Sun, or The Canticle of The Sun) a prayer written by St. Francis, and I blessed the furry friends. (There were no feathered or scaled friends as it happens).
Right now, I’m wanting to bring another dog into our family. We had Dusty for 12 years – we got him when he was three, and he was happy here and brought so much love, but in May, when Don was so sick (in fact, when Don was in the hospital), Dusty could no longer stand up, and it was time to have the vet come over and euthanize him. It was a sad day, but he could no longer be happy, and that would have been sadder.
Then in August, one of our cats died. She’d been sick for a while, and medication didn’t help her. So now we are left with Rosie. Rosie the cat.
All of these animals have blessed us in one way or another. Even though they’ve also clawed my furniture (oh, that poor, poor chair!), even though Rosie has torn up all sorts of papers, even though they’ve pooped and puked on the floors, and sometimes on the bed, they’ve been blessings.
Poor Rosie is grieving the loss of her best friend Dusty, and Don, whom she curled up with all the time. I do get frustrated with her sometimes – she’s lonely, so she wants to be with me all the time. With me in my face. Did I mention I’m REALLY allergic? That’s why I have so many pets. Well, I love them in spite of the allergies.
So I don’t just want to bring a new dog into the house for me, I want to bring one in so Rosie won’t be so lonely.
Now, Dusty isn’t the first dog I’ve ever had. Rosie and Allegra aren’t the first cats. New dogs and cats aren’t replacements. They’re just new ones. They fill some of the void, but not the whole void. And they are beings in their own right.
So many changes in my life right now. It’s nice to have some pets who love unconditionally. And I’ll try to remember to unconditionally love them back.
That’s my mite. It’s all I’ve got today.
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