St. Austremonius with the wild beasts
From the Church of Saint Austremonius in Issoire, Auvergne, France, 1897
Animal blessing events are happening all over the world this weekend for the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. Many people like my animal blessing prayer, so here it is again:
May we remember that humanity is but one small, fragile strand and interdependent web of life.
May we remember that we human beings are not the only ones created to look at flowers, to taste cool water, to listen to the wind, and to feel the earth beneath our feet.
May we remember that what befalls the earth befalls all who live on her lovely shores.
May we never forget that to harm the Earth is to scorn the Creator.
We pray for the animals who are our companions.
We pray for the wildlife displaced as we develop land for human use.
We pray for the animals who work for us, including the seeing-eye dog, the carriage horse, and the laboratory rat.
We pray for animals who are bought and sold, animals who live in cages, and animals who live free.
We pray for animals indigenous to this particular place, including [name a few species].
We pray for the animals who have made our lives possible by becoming food and clothing for us.
We pray for endangered species, including the giant panda and the California condor, and we remember the dinosaurs, passenger pigeons, and other extinct species.
We pray for all human beings who have felt degraded by being compared to animals.
God, we know that you hear all or prayers, those spoken and those that we hold silently in our hearts. We claim your loving presence with us now in the name of the One who created all animals. Amen.
I wrote this animal blessing prayer and included it in “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations.
Animals are important in the lives of many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer people and our allies. Dogs and cats often become family members. Do you want an artist to draw a portrait of YOUR pet? The Jesus in Love Blog is offering personalized pet portraits this year in honor of St. Francis Day. Click here for details.
St. Francis of Assisi was an animal-loving saint who talked with birds, befriended wolves and called all animals “brother” and “sister.” His life story will be posted here on his feast day, Oct. 4, with an emphasis on his male-to-male friendships.