"If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages
Think of all the things we could discuss
If we could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,
Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,
And they could squeak and squawk and speak and talk to us."
This is the last verse of the song “If I Could Talk to the Animals” (Music / Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse) from the movie / musical Dr. Doolittle.
At St. Stephen’s we had our very own “Dr. Doolittle”, Father Daniel Gunn. Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi we were given the opportunity to bring our pets to church for their annual blessing. This is a great opportunity for us to give thanks for the beautiful creatures God has entrusted to our care. Father Daniel has a special gift of talking to each animal in much the same way Dr. Doolittle did. Each pet was brought to the front one at a time for their individual blessing. Father Daniel placed his hands on their head, blessed them and thanked God for the happiness they bring to their owners. Father Daniel was able to infuse something personal into each blessing at times funny and at other times poignant. We celebrated new life in the form of a 3 month old St. Bernard puppy and gave thanks for a life slowly coming to an end in the form our Jack Russell, dear Abigail at 15 years and 3 months. Father Daniel had the foresight to save Abigail’s blessing for the very end. This St. Francis Day will always hold a special meaning for me as I think of Father Daniel’s kind words while he held Abigail on his lap. I am fully aware this will probably be her last blessing. While it makes me sad to think about this I am also grateful for the happiness, intelligence and courage she has brought to our family. Things won’t be the same once she is gone but she will always be in our hearts. It makes me realize that we need to love and care for these beautiful creatures more dearly since they are with us for such a short time. They are always there to comfort us and keep us company when we are feeling lonely or have had a rough day at work. Rather than yelling at them to stop barking, whining or scratching we should sit down with them and find out what is on THEIR mind. Maybe by doing this we can learn to “talk to the animals” in much the same way that Father Daniel / Dr. Doolittle are able to.
In closing I fully admit that I copied and pasted the following paragraph from the internet. It’s the last sentence I want to bring to your attention.
"St. Francis's attitude towards the natural world and animals, while poetically expressed, was conventionally Christian. He believed that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man. He preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature and animals as both the stewards of God's creation and as creatures ourselves."
We are stewards of this earth and everything in it. It is our duty to take care of what God has given us and not to take anything for granted. Why not make St. Francis day everyday and give thanks for these creatures He has entrusted to our care.
-submitted by Matthew Malini October 4, 2010