Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals and Prayers

"God looked at everything He had made, and He found it very good."
- Genesis 1:31

Mosaic at St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa. Photo by Esther
"Saint Francis of Assisi was named the patron saint of ecology in 1989 for good reason.  We might say that Francis saw with the eyes of God.  He saw that all of creation was good, very good.  Francis treasured each part of the created world that he viewed-from lofty Mt. Subasio where Assisi nestles to the tiniest worm creeping along the dusty road never his hometown.  Francis believed that ll creation was God's gift and was therefore to be treated as a treasure.  In 'The Canticle of the Creatures" Francis praises God for all creation-the sun and the moon, the stars and the heavens, the wind and air, water and fire, flowers and fruits and herbs.  Francis' heart overflowed with gratitude for all God's gifts.



Picture source

Francis was following Jesus who also treasured creation to such extent tht he used creation images as the basis for explaining spiritual truths to those who flocked to him.  He spoke of seeds and sheeps, figs and fields, pearls and plants, wheat and water.  He spoke of these elements of creation to bring people closer to God."

Picture source

Prayer for a Dying Pet

"Loving God, our beloved pet and companion, __________,
is on his/her final journey. We will miss ________ dearly.
We thank you for the gift that he/she has been to us.
Give us hope that, in your great kindness,
you may restore ___________ in your heavenly Kingdom
according to your wisdom,
which goes beyond our human understanding."

by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M


Picture source

A Pet Blessing Prayer
"Blessed are you, Lord God,
Maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless these animals gathered about us.
By the power of your love,
enable these creatures—our sisters and brothers—to
live according to you plan.
May we always praise you for your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen."
by Friar Jack Wintz, O.F.M


Picture source

St. Francis and the Birds

St. Francis has often been linked with birds and other creatures. Many of us are well acquainted with the statue of St. Francis on the birdbath and with the illustration of birds flying around the saint's head or standing on his shoulders. Such images inspire us to love the whole family of creation. We may also be familiar with St. Francis' Canticle of Brother Sun, in which Francis praises God through "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon," through "Brother Wind" and "Sister Water," through "Brother Fire" and "Our Sister Mother Earth" and her "various fruits with colored flowers and herbs."

St. Francis loved the larks that flew so gracefully through the sky over Assisi, his hometown. Perhaps you have also heard stories of this brown-robed friar preaching to the birds, releasing Brother Rabbit from a trap or letting Sister Raven serve as his "alarm clock" to awaken him for early-morning prayer.

There are many of us human beings, moreover, who know what it's like to have, as companions, a beloved dog, cat, rabbit, gerbil, parrot or canary. There are others who may not have a pet, but who enjoy walking through the woods or along the seacoast where there are all kinds of creatures of land, air and sea to admire and to contemplate.

"Loving Creator, bless all your creatures—
human and non-human alike.
Instill in us a spirit like that of St. Francis
so that we, too, may show love, respect and care
to the whole family of creation. Amen."

Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen


Sources:Thanks to Mary Jane for sharing Father Jack's e-newsletter with me.

Father Jack's Espirations

To Live as Francis Lived

51 comments:

P.H.C. Marchesi said...

This is beautiful! Thanks for posting. Too often I meet Christians who, though they consider themselves devout, unfortunately don't extend their compassion to animals. This always makes me very sad, as animals are a gift from God, and are not just there for our benefit. It is our duty to make this world a more humane world for people and animals, and to have compassion towards all.

Thanks again for your beautiful post and illustrations.

Lou Ann/PA said...

Oh Esther!! This is the most beautiful tribute to St. Francis on his Feast Day I've seen in a very long time!! God Bless you, this is so beautiful, so special, and thank you so much for sharing!!
And thank you for sharing this most special site with all of us!
Hugs and Blessings!
Hearts, hands, paws, and hooves together!

Anonymous said...

Please pray for Gray's safe return to us. He is a gray and white tabby who hasn't been seen since Sunday night, April 1. We love him so much and pray that he is okay and will come back to us. And we pray for all other pet owners who are missing the beloved pets.

Carey Drafts
Columbia, SC

Esther G. said...

Dear Carey:
I posted a prayer request for Gray's safe return home. Thank you for praying for the other pets and owners. Would you like to be added as a prayer warrior?

PJ said...

Love your site. Could you please add Salem (Bubba) to the list of pets who've died? I lost him today (9/16/12) when I had to make that terrible decision. My heart hurts so much. Your site is very healing. Thank you.

Esther Gefroh said...

Salem's name has been added. We are also praying for you during this sad time. God bless,

malvaro@sd45.vx.xa said...

please say a prayer for our beloved dog MARTIN - WHO WAS TAKEN FROM us AT 4 AND 1/2 YEARS Thursday Sept 22, 2012. He was the gentlest and most beautiful Alaskan Malamute and miss him terribly. Also pray for me and my son to help us overcome this tragedy in our lives.

Esther Gefroh said...

We pray that Martin is found and returned to you. A prayer request has been posted.

Sandy Wright said...

Please pray for my beloved Beau, an 11 yr. old Maltese who passed on December 22, 2012. My husband and I are grieving terribly. We also lost our Bruiser, a 10 yr. old Yorkie 17 months ago, whom we still grieve for. We are a childless couple, and Beau and Bruiser were and always will be our babies.......the difference between a child and a dog is two extra legs! Please keep them and us in your prayers. Thank you.

Esther Gefroh said...

Sandy, I am so sorry. We will be praying for you and your husband during this sad time. God bless.

Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS MY TIA BELEN AND TIO TONY'S CHOC. LAB. HERSHEY THAT HAS JUST PASSED ON ... MAY HERSHEY REST IN PEACE ... HERSHEY DID A JOB WELL DONE ... BY GIVING MANY YEARS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS TO THE WHOLE FAMILY AS WELL AS FRIENDS ... GOD BLESS ...RIP ... NEVER FORGOTTEN

Esther Gefroh said...

So sorry for the loss of Hershey. We will be praying for your auntie and uncle. God bless,

Anonymous said...

Please pray for Buku who was diagnosed with cancer. God bless, and thank you.

Esther Gefroh said...

Your prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for my wee dog feargal he is 11 and just found he has an enlarged liver and cancerous cells I can't bare to loose him he is my life please pray that he will not suffer

Esther Gefroh said...

Your urgent prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for my baby Lucy. She was a 5 year old Yorkie. She died suddenly on November 8,2013. Her passing has left a huge hole in my heart. She was the love of my life. I'm having a very difficulty time coping with her loss. God bless and thank you!

Esther Gefroh said...

Our sincerest condolences on the loss of Lucy. We are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Please Pray for my buddy, and dear companion Sasha, unless by some mirical she is spared, she will by making the journey home. My only hope is that she doesn't suffer. She's a tineie Gray tabby that has brought great joy to my life, when I was sick, now that she is sick, I feel helpless to help her, and don't know what I'll do without her. I've had her for 13 yrs. Since she was a kitten. I Love her so much! Please Pray for her!
God bless you all. I feel your pain....
Doug

Esther Gefroh said...

Doug, we are praying for Sasha.

Liz Hardman said...

On New Years day we lost our 9 mos old Lab , Lola, to a tragic accident. She was a blessing that came into our lives during a time of challenge for our family. Little did we know when we got her that only 2 mos later our son would be diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. Her love was what kept us grounded during this challenging time we were to face. She provided each of us with unique support at the end of each day. Giving my son a bright spot to look forward to each day and also waiting for him when he would come home from hospital stays for chemo treatments. She was our inner glue. All to be taken tragically from us on a day of new beginnings. Jan 1st.
The heartache is indescribable to any pet we've lost. I think because we didn't get to give her the life she so deserved. I feel I let her down by not protecting her. As day 3 of grieving continues so deep, I'm trying to find the answer of why she was taken , the one thing that brought us happiness during such a hard time for our family..... So I am seeking to find a deeper faith, a prayer... Anything to help ease this pain we each feel. It hurts so that it takes my breath with grief. Please help us through this to see some light.
I pray....
Liz

Esther Gefroh said...

Dear Liz: We are very sorry for your loss. As pet owners, we know the pain the loss of a beloved pet causes. We are praying for you and your family. God bless, BTW, your prayer request has been posted.

Lori Murphy said...

Dear friends,
my beloved little girl, Margaux, is slowly dying after being my heart fior over 18 yrs. I am truky broken and so afraid. I pray for the Lord's strength to do what I need to do for her comfort though it will kill me in the process. I don't know how I will cope with life without her but I will just have to try. She will be joined with her brothers and littermates when she reaches the Bridge. I pray one day I will see her and my beloved Winston (her brother) again and that our little family will be together again. I love you with my whole being, Margaux.

Esther Gefroh said...

Lori, your prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

Beth Rebelein said...

One of our 11 year old yellow labs became seriously ill suddenly and unexpected on 5-2-14. Unfortunately for us to do what was best by her, we had to let her go on 5-3-14. We miss her terribly, and I never knew the pain of losing a pet could be so excruciating. Our kids aren't taking it well either. Please pray that we can heal from this tragedy and that we will be able to see Dodge again one day. Your info on St. Francis is soothing for the soul. We love you, Dodge!

Esther Gefroh said...

So sorry for your loss, Beth. We are praying for your family.

Kelley Boorn said...

Please pray for my grandmother and for the safe return of her lost cat, jiffy. She has his sister cat at home and they are anxiously awaiting his return. These cats are her only companions left as her family has moved away.

Esther Gefroh said...

Kelley, your prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

Peg Parks said...

Please prayer for our sweet cat, Oscar (who is a girl, in spite of her name), who we must put to sleep tonight. Oscar was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer and although we tried chemo, her blood cell number is very low. If we don't euthanisize her, her ending could be very painful. This is tearing our hearts out, especially, because she still does some of the things she used to do. Please pray for my husband, me, and dear Oscar as she makes her journey to our Heavenly Father. Thank you. Peg and Bob

Esther Gefroh said...

Peg, your prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

Ben said...

Please pray for my lost companion Tiffany Rae. She was a mini toy poodle and chihuahua mix. She passed 4/29/2014. I will miss her forever. Please pray for all the animals that are ill, injured, or have passed. And please pray for all the broken-hearts left behind.
Thank you so much,
Ben

Esther Gefroh said...

Ben, sorry for your loss. We are praying for you.

Luis B said...

Please pray for the soul of our 15 year old Munenca. We had to put her to rest yeserdat (7//19/14). This was one of the most difficult experiences I have had in my life. She was a great dog and very grateful that God let her into our lives.

Esther Gefroh said...

Luis, so sorry for your loss. We are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Please pray for my little dog Hendrix. He has gone through multiple surgeries this month and each time, complications are showing up. If it is God's will, please make us understand and ease our pain from all that is happening. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Esther Gefroh said...

Your prayer request has been posted. We are praying for Hendrix.

Stella mum said...

Please pray for my beautiful loyal friend Stella the Staffy who is 6 years old. She is making her journey back home. Please help her to pass peacefully without the need for euthanasia. If I am not physically with her in her passing please help her to feel and know I am there. Please restore her to full health on the other side where she can chase her ball and run through the green fields. Help us to always feel her closeness and love. She is one in a million and will always be in our heart's. Only a heartbeat and a breath away.xxxx

Anonymous said...

Please pray for Frosty, my parent's 9 week old puppy who is currently at the ICU UofMN Animal Hospital. Frosty is very ill and so far no one knows why - he's feverish and dehydrated. Please pray for a full recovery.

George Androckitis said...

Please pray for our dog shilo he is in pain and he does not need to suffer anymore he was a great pet friend and companion for the last 14 years and it is his turn to rest and be with his own family his mother father brothers and sisters
Please take away his suffering and take him home he will be missed and loved forever
you will never be forgoten
dont be sad its ok its your time to rest
thank you for everything
we love you

Anonymous said...

Please pray for my cat, Curious, who I had to help leave this world yesterday. He was one of few lights in my life and the only unconditional love I've ever known. Please pray for him. I hope he can forgive me.

Rest in peace, sweet boy. Your mama loves you.

Jo

Anonymous said...

Pls pray i find 2 dogs that went missing yesterday! is there a specific prayer to find lost pets or lost things? Pls pray i find them safe!!! ty and God Bless!!

Anonymous said...

Please pray for the safe return of my juvenile monitor lizard, I am out of town and he got out on my boyfriend and I am very worried and unable to do anything, this is agony.

Esther Gefroh said...

Your prayer request has been posted. We are praying.

milkayphoto said...

Please pray for our beloved cat, Cleo. She is 21+ years old and on her final journey. We are making her as comfortable as we can, telling her how much she is loved and giving her permission to let go. This is the hardest thing we've ever had to do. We were hoping the time to go would be of her choosing but we may need to interfere as we would llike her suffering to end and for her to go peacefully. Please grant us the strength to cope with our decision. Your site has helped tremendously as our hearts are aching. God Bless.

milkayphoto said...

Please pray for our beloved car, Cleo. She is 21+ years old and making her final journey. She has been very ill and is now very frail and weak. We have made her as comfortable as we possibly can, telling her how much she is loved and giving her permission to let go. We hoped the time to depart would be of her choosing but we may have to make that decision for her. This is the hardest thing we've ever had to do. Please grant us the strength to cope with this great loss un our lives. Your site has been a tremendous help to us. Thank you and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

My prayers and thoughts are with you and Cleo. My beloved cat, Conor, is facing end stage liver cancer. He is just the sweetest, gentlest, most tender fellow. When I was ill and needed surgery, he never left my side once I was home. I would often wake up in pain, to find him purring at my side, gently stroking my face with his front paw. He is everything to me.

We are also hoping to have him end his life on his own terms in his own home, surrounded by loved ones. But we don't know if he will become so uncomfortable that we will have to bring him to the vet. The vet thinks he isn't in pain, just uncomfortable from abdominal bloating. Please, those of you with loving hearts, please pray for my Conor.
Thank you for your time.
-Kerri

Esther Gefroh said...

We are praying for Cleo and Conor, and all the other pets.

milkayphoto said...

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Yesterday, the vet came to our home and Cleo left us peacefully and surrounded by such love. Our hearts are aching but we are positive we made the right decision for her, giving her the gift of peace. Her spirit is all around us.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Conor. What I can tell you from our experience is this: the waiting is harder than the ending. Conor will tell you when it is time, just as Cleo told us. They are such strong and giving souls and far braver than we are.

Hugs and God Bless.

Esther Gefroh said...

Very sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathy on the passing of your Cleo. I am very glad she was home with her loved ones. I know you must miss her very much,

Thank you for your kind words. You were quite right. The waiting was the agony.
Conor's last day was lovely. He jumped up in the front bay window to bathe in the sun and people watch. He loved to watch the neighbors jog and bike and especially walk their dogs. He followed the family around the house to supervise their various goings-on. In the afternoon he retired to a bed pillow I had put out for him on the dining room floor, where he had the best view of activity in both the kitchen and the living room. We noticed him turn away from us and when we called his name he wouldn't pick up his head. He was the type of cat to always come when called. I went over to him and he let out two sad little meows that broke my heart. we immediately called his vet practice, his vet practice of over 11 years, the vet we had spent almost a thousand dollars at less than a week ago diagnosing him, and asked if we could come in to put him to sleep.
They told us no, sorry, they were fully booked for the rest of the afternoon! They were open for another hour plus, but would not take us, even when we pleaded. They directed us to an emergency hospital about 45 minutes away. ( his actual vet is a wonderful caring compassionate saint, but was not on duty that day, but still we were shocked by the treatment bythe rest of the staff. We had discussed what would happen if Conor needed to come in when she was off and she assured us he would be in good hands).
We called another vet office nearby, that we had never been to before, and they were so kind and considerate. They treated us and Conor so warmly. I will forever be grateful to them. The vet tech, the vet, and the woman at the desk all offered condolences and hugs after he passed away.

I'm sorry to ramble but just needed to get that off my chest. Please feel free to edit it severely if it's not appropriate. We never realized the his vet office would cause us so much grief in the midst of our trying to do right by him. I wish we had a vet around here who would make a house call.

Thank you so much for the wonderful site and everyone's kind thoughts and prayers,.
I hope Conor and Cleo are playing together by the rainbow bridge, along with everyone else's dear little friends.

Esther Gefroh said...

I am glad you shared this with us. We are praying for you.
God bless