St. Francis’s Blessing of the Animals

There is a beautiful tradition I observe every year on October 4th, with our household pets. It is a holy day in the Roman Catholic church — The Feast of St. Francis. Though I may not always get over to church for the formal ceremony, I do a “Pet Blessing” for each of our cats, and even sprinkle holy water on them (though they don’t like it!). St. Francis of Assisi is my patron saint, as I am a wildlife conservationist and promote a vegan lifestyle, which does not exploit animals for food or clothing. I love that Pope Francis models himself after the “poor man of Assisi” with his kindness, compassion, and humble manner. I highly recommend the following book written by the Holy Father, for anyone who loves God’s creations and desires to protect them, and preserve the sanctity of Mother Nature:   https://tinyurl.com/y2bnfgnb

In addition, and in keeping with the Patron Saint of animals, ecology, nature and our ecosystem, here’s the statement from Pope Francis on “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” issued September 1st this year:  https://tinyurl.com/y4vmvlf9

I’ve compiled some relevant images to share on this special day, in celebration of our fellow beings! Click on any image to learn more.

Spending more time in the natural world, away from technology, is incredibly healing and restorative. Praying Nature with St. Francis of Assisi shows us the way: http://www.praying-nature.com/site_pages.php?section=Guide+for+Nature+Lovers

And here is the “Blessing of the Animals” for at-home observance with your beloved pets:

God of all creation, at the beginning of time you gave us beautiful creatures of the earth as our fellow beings. And in your wisdom, these animals, like all good things from you, became more than that. They became our friends and companions. Loving St. Francis considered animals of all species his brothers and sisters. We ask you, therefore, to bless them in the natural world, and our own beloved ___pet name(s)___, that they may have a long and joyful life. Keep them safe when we cannot be with them, protect them from sickness and harm and heal their wounds. And bless us too, their human companions, with your Holy Spirit that we may care for our pets well, and be wise, gentle stewards of every one of your creatures and the earth, Mother to all life.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who is Lord of all forever and ever. Amen.

For a radiantly beautiful and inspiring picture of St. Francis blessing eight dogs, birds and other creatures:  https://tinyurl.com/y2trncsc

Have a blessed day, with your special friends!

Awaken Your Senses; There’s Wonders to Behold!

I have been remiss in not blogging for over a month! In my defense, I’ve been grappling with a turning point in my life – nothing tragic, just very challenging – and it opened my eyes and heart, making me rethink my priorities in a big way!! I really needed a respite with my first love, POETRY, so in that spirit I have chosen these beautiful poems to feature here. They are quoted from “The Fragrance Of Life”, attributed to a fellow blogger and spiritualist who I much admire @inspiringyoursp Thank you and God bless you! 🙂

“Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.”
– Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden

“The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience.”
– Henryk Skolimowski

“Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides. I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature. Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation – that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different. However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple. When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth’s natural altar – Great Spirit’s real shrine. Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature – God, Goddess, and Great Spirit – was humanity’s most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization.”
– John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below

“In all things of Nature there is something marvellous.”
– Aristotle

Awakening

“In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. … Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.”

– Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master, Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31

Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the
gardener’s repertory and yet it is the most neglected and
least understood. The faintest waft is sometimes enough
to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport
you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment
in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply
tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and
evaporating almost the moment it is detected. Each fragrance,
whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you
in its own way and evokes its own emotional response.
– Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers
is a delectable form of defeat.
– Beverly Nichols

I go to Nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.
– John Burroughs

My lilac trees are old and tall;
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roof and streets, to find the bees.
– Lousie Driscoll, 1875 – 1957, My Garden Is a Pleasant Place

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.
– Heinrich Heine

And so it is, ever was and ever shall be. Praise God and all of Mother Nature!