St. Francis' Blessing of the Animals
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is
hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where
there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where
there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where
there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be
consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be
loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in
pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are
born to eternal life. Amen.
attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
A Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
On Sunday, October 9th St. Alban's commemorated Saint Francis of Assisi with our annual service of the Blessing of the Animals. The Blessing of the Animals is a treasured moment in the liturgical year. When people bring their pets to be blessed, the church has an opportunity to affirm the richness of our connection with creatures outside our own species. It is a worship setting which reminds us of the responsibilities that we have in caring for these critters.
Both regular members of the congregation and neighbors of the church, are invited to attend with their wonderful creatures great and small. Although we have mostly dogs-ranging from small toys to Great Danes, we are always blessed with the presence of a good number of cats.
Pictures of the blessing on October 9, 2011
The liturgy is an expression of God's love for all Creation and of his call to us to care for it.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." God said, "This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth."
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
The Very Reverend Billie Abraham, Rector ◆ The Reverend Deacon Josie Williams
5930 Warriors Trail ◆ Vicksburg, MS 39180 ◆ Phone: (601) 636-6687