Friday, October 4, 2013

Blessing of the Animals

October 4th is Blessing of the Animals, a Catholic holiday that really everyone can celebrate. Francis was a saint who had extreme love for animals. His feast day is Oct 4th. Many Catholic churches do a special service where you can bring well-behaved pets to receive a blessing. Unitarian Universalists congregations have adapted this service to fit multifaith needs. Although my home congregation won't be holding a service, a neighboring one will. I plan on bringing my 3 dogs and pictures of my 3 cats.

If you want to hold your own service, do so. It can be somber or lighthearted.

The following blessing by Jan Richardson can be found here. I added the last verse myself.

You who created them
and called them good:
bless again these creatures
who come to us
as a blessing
fashioned of fur
or feather
or fin,
formed of flesh
that breathes with
your own breath,
that you have made
from sheer delight,
that you have given
in dazzling variety.

Bless them
who curl themselves
around our hearts
who twine themselves
through our days
who companion us
in our labor
who call us
to come and play.

Bless them
who will never be
entirely tamed
and so remind us
that you love
what is wild,
that you rejoice
in what lives close
to the earth,
that your heart beats
in the heart of these creatures
you have entrusted
to our care.

Bless them
who sustain us.
May you eat freely,
live comfortably,
and die compassionately.

I use the following to bless each animal separately.

[Cat's name], may you be blessed by the spirit of maneki-neko, Bastet and Sekmet.

[Dog's name], may you be blessed by the spirit of Xolotl, Anubis and Wepwawet.

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