A Franciscan Blessing

Have you ever wondered why many churches offer a special blessing for animals around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology? Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM (Holy Name Province) offers his reflections:

People bring their pets for a blessing because they want to thank God for their non-human companions, for their friendship and beauty. But there is an even more important reason to bless animals, especially at this time of the unprecedented ecological crisis that we face. First, the blessing of animals reminds us that all creatures have been created and blessed by God. Their worth extends far beyond a mere commodity value that we humans ascribe to them. Second, the blessing of the animals offers us an opportunity to strengthen within us a sense of compassion for all God’s creatures. It can also reawaken in us our religious responsibility to protect them – much like Noah did – from a disaster.

If the current trends continue, 50 percent of all plant and animal species could vanish from the Earth within the next 50 years. Species are dying 10,000 times faster than natural extinction rates, faster than at any time in the last 65 million years. Global climate change compounds and accelerates the staggering rate of extinction among the animal species. But we can make a difference and join the effort to create a more just and sustainable world. One way to go about it is to join the Franciscan Action Network: www.franciscanaction.org. I hope you’ll become an instrument of God’s healing for our world and all its creatures.

Peace and all good. Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 8:52 am  Leave a Comment  

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