In honor of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226), I am using a portion of a beautiful reflection from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation on October 3rd. I receive these meditations every morning and encourage you to subscribe to them and make them a part of your daily walk with Christ.
“Each and every creature is a unique word of God, with its own message, its own metaphor, its own energetic style, its own way of showing forth goodness, beauty, and participation in the Great Mystery. Each creature has its own glow and its own unique glory. To be a contemplative is to be able to see each epiphany, to enjoy it, protect it, and draw upon it for the common good.
Living close to nature as he did, Francis could see Christ in every animal he encountered. He is quoted as talking to or about rabbits, bees, larks, falcons, lambs, pigs, fish, cicadas, waterfowl, doves, and the famous wolf of Gubbio, to name just a few. Those of you who love dogs know that each one is uniquely gifted by God and blesses our lives in special ways. Their unconditional love, forgiveness, and loyalty show us what God is like.
I really think human beings need someone to love, someone to awaken us to the flow of love and to keep that flow going. I can understand why so many people have adopted pets to ease their isolation during the pandemic! I often wonder if there doesn’t have to be an object (which then becomes a subject) whose goodness, truth, and beauty draw us out of ourselves. That someone doesn’t even have to be human; it can be an animal to whom we give ourselves and through whom we feel ourselves given back. Remember, our English word animal comes from the Latin word for “soul” or anima. Animals are ensouled ones!
Humans can’t seem to sustain eye contact for long. But dogs just keep gazing at us with their very “soulful” eyes. And I’d wonder: What did she see? What was she thinking? What was it that she genuinely seemed to like in me? They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I’m convinced these beings that we thought lived at a rudimentary level of consciousness can see the one thing necessary: love! They don’t get lost in labeling and categorizing. Maybe that’s why they can maintain the flow of love—often unconditionally.”
Yours in Christ,
Mtr. Teresa+ and my ensouled companion - Dexter