Today is World Animal Day. It happens to fall on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis is noted as saying:
If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
St Francis is probably the most beloved of the Catholic saints. He was born in Umbria, Italy in 1181 and founded the order of the Franciscans. He had a deep love and reverence not only for all animals but for nature. It is significant that as well as being the patron saint of animals he is the patron saint of the environment.
St Francis was noted for his gentle manner and his charisma. Animals flocked to him. I have seen that kind of temperament in some animal rights activists I know as well as some animal welfare workers. Animals are extremely intuitive and can sense a kindred spirit a mile off.
We need you now, St Francis, more than ever.
I don’t pray much in the orthodox sense but I have an old St Francis medallion from long ago and I raise it to the skies a lot praying that things will change. We need to save our endangered species, we need to ensure the sustainability of biodiversity. We need to realise we are the caretakers of this planet and everything on it. I think that if we succeed in saving animals and the natural world that we will also be successful in saving ourselves.
From what I have read of St Francis he had an understanding of the connectedness of life. If he had been around when John Lennon was writing I Am The Walrus I am sure he would have got the idea behind the lyric –
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
Like it or not, we are all connected.
Animal, human, bird, fish and bug. We are all part of the wonder of the world.
At the moment the gorilla, tiger and polar bear populations of the world are critically endangered. You can help.
You can make a difference.
It is worth it to try.
After all, in spite of being different species, we all have faces
that somebody loves.