Why do we bless animals?
Following up from last the last post, some of you (depending on your background) may be wondering why we are going to bless our animals during the Feast of St. Francis. Or we might ask a more encompassing question: Why do we bless anything?
The Psalmist offers a starting point for approaching this question:
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it…
All of creation belongs to the Lord. This is a reality that we very frequently forget. We tend to see objects or possessions as ‘neutral.’ In the Christian imagination, nothing is neutral because everything belongs to God. In blessing our homes, our cars, our animals, we are reminded and called back into the reality that the earth the Lord’s and all that is in it. Furthermore, in receiving a blessing over our children and ourselves as we do each Sunday, we enter into what is real and true about us. We are people who belong to God and are loved and enjoyed by Him. This postures us to love and enjoy Him in return.
St. Francis lived deeply in the reality that all of creation belonged to God including himself. In remembering St. Francis, we are invited to also live into this reality. Because of this, it has become customary to have a blessing of the animals on the Feast of St. Francis.
May this day be soaked in the reality that all that you are and all that you have is situated in the life of God and may that bring you freedom and peace.
- Mother Janna