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:

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:

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:

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:

Have a blessed day, with your special friends!

Thankful Thursday: Oh Boy! Look What I Found!

I love it when, in the course of my web surfing, I come across someone who is making choices in their life using their powers of discernment, and not caving into peer pressure. Just earlier today, due to the wealth of information within my Twitter timeline on a healthy Vegan diet, I happened to check out the Dali Lama’s personal stance on eating animal products. In a nutshell, he made some half-hearted attempt at a vegetarian diet decades ago, but on advice of his physician was told he actually needed meat products. Meat-free choices were very limited back then. My research revealed that the Dali Lama followed what’s known today as a “junk food vegetarian diet”, so he became anemic and his doctors made an incorrect assumption. A healthy, well balanced Vegan diet (no meat, no dairy) by and large, does NOT cause health problems, and in fact is great for losing weight and building muscle. Many world-class Vegan athletes can attest to that!

While the Dali Lama is known to publicly denounce cruelty to animals, including raising them for food, he continues to consume meat 2-3 times a week. He seems to think being a “part-time vegetarian” is good enough. That may well be for the general public, but the Dali Lama is a spiritual leader and as such must be held to a higher standard. Otherwise, he is basically behaving like a hypocrite, which can’t help but seriously undermine his credibility as a peace advocate and compassionate leader. But all this is for another blog, which would include the many ways the Dali Lama has been an inspiration to his people and the world. His dietary choices are but one aspect of a basically decent human being.

That said, I did come across a very interesting blog entitled, “Why I’m Thinking About Going Vegan” which I must share with my readers. I am thankful to this beautiful woman, a former hair and beauty editor for her insightful comments on Veganism and what she’s learned from her health advocate boyfriend. She says they watched the health-conscious movies on Netflix, Forks Over Knives and FatSick And Nearly Dead, and that’s what inspired them to phase out meat from their diets… Read and enjoy!

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Dali Lama read this blog too? Better yet, he could watch those two films and enlighten himself. He has much to learn about a truly healthy AND compassionate dietary regimen!