Monday, June 23, 2008

Prayers to the Saints for Our Pets

Dearest Saint Francis, inspire us to see God's fingerprints in all of creation, especially in the animals with which we share our world. Teach us how to talk with the birds as you did, to coexist with wolves, to treat fish with kindness, to comfort rabbits--to be people of peace in relation to all of God's creatures. Instill in us your extravagant love of every living thing. Amen.

We call upon you, most blessed Saint Anthony, patron of domestic animals, to bless our pets this day. Protect them from injury, preserve them from illness, and help us provide all that they need. But more than that, inspire us to love them as they love us--unconditionally, unwaveringly, and always. Amen.

O Saint Hippolytus, we thank you for keeping our pets in your care. Please continue to bless them, we pray, that they might remain healthy and vigorous for all the years to come. Amen.

Mildest Saint Mildburga, like Saint Francis who communed with the birds, you had a special connection with our winged companions. So we ask you to watch over our feathered friends, especially all of this season's newly hatched chicks. Bless them with health of body and strength of spirit, that they may grow joyful in proclaiming God's love to all creation. Amen.

O sweet Saint Gall, patron of the birds of the air, bless these newborn creatures that have been entrusted to our care. Ask God to give them health and strength and length of days, and give us wisdom to provide for them in every way. Teach us to be patient with their youthful energy, and show us how to cherish them with love eternally. Amen.

O holy Saint Roch, in remembrance of the dog who helped you recover from your own illness, we implore your blessing upon our dear ____. Send your spirit of healing to this sick animal, and ask our Creator to cure ____ so that we may once again delight together in the joy that God has placed in our hearts. Amen.

We invoke your name, most blessed Saint Dwyn, for the healing of this sick creature. Your intercession has already brought about the cures of countless animals, so we ask for your prayers on behalf of our beloved ____, who is precious to us. Bless ____ and ask God to take away her/his malady and restore her/him to full health. O dear saint, please keep ____ under your watchful eye. Amen.

O God, my heart is sad because ____, my ____, is sick and nothing can be done to heal her/him. ____ has been with me for so long, and now she/he will be leaving me--and taking part of my heart with her/him. I ache already from the emptiness ____'s death will create in my life. But more than that, I cry because ____ is in pain. Please, God, don't let her/him suffer. Help me to show ____ that I love her/him, to comfort her/him when death comes, to be ____'s companion until the very end. And when the unfortunate inevitable comes to pass, to remember ____ with love and keep her/his memory with me forever. Amen.

O Saints Gall and Mildburga, pray for our feathered friends.
O Saint Roch, pray for our canine friends.
O Saints George, Martin, and Stephen, pray for our equine friends.
O Saint Anthony, pray for our feline and rodent friends.
O Saint Francis, pray for all our animal friends.
O holy saints of God, pray for us, that we may be loving companions to our animal friends. Amen.

(These prayers/poems are from We Thank You, God, for These: Blessings and Prayers for Family Pets by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Jr. Available from Paulist Press.)

A Prayer for Newborn Animals

Holy Spirit, Breath of Life, bless all these newborns with health of body and strength of spirit, so that they may bring joy and love to all who are blessed with their companionship. Amen.

(This prayer/poem is from We Thank You, God, for These: Blessings and Prayers for Family Pets by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Jr. Available from Paulist Press.)

A Prayer for All Animals

Creator God, Source of All, we know that you delight in creatures as diverse as angelfish and zebras, for we, made in your image, do too. Remind us that as images of you, we also are creators, responsible for shaping a world where oysters and ocelots and all animals can flourish. Guide and bless our creative efforts, we pray, that we may cherish and serve cranes and crawfish, chipmunks and caribou, and all the spectacular diversity of life that abides in the waters, on the land, and in the air. Amen.

(This prayer/poem is from We Thank You, God, for These: Blessings and Prayers for Family Pets by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Jr. Available from Paulist Press.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My "-ITY" Moment

This post will be a bit of a departure, as it really has nothing much to do with photography (though I'm posting a couple pics just to make it pretty).
A few weeks ago, the church sermon (and I don't remember the lesson) made me think about what are the most important things in my life. As I started thinking about my priorities, and writing them down, I began to notice that my list included a lot of "-ity" and "-ty" words, as if echoing the concept of "priority." So these, in no particular order, are what I believe to be most precious to me as I make my way through life:
* Integrity/Honesty -- being true to myself and honest about who I am, with myself and others
* Sexuality -- honestly exploring and expressing my true sexual nature/identity/desires
* Creativity/Fertility -- seeking ways to freely express my imagination and to "seed" my thoughts into the Universe
* Fraternity/Community -- building a circle of friends/lovers for mutual support, love, and joyful living
* Liberty -- promoting freedom of self-expression and self-identification for all persons
* Beauty -- discovering how gorgeous even the simplest objects or moments can be
* Divinity/Luminosity -- tapping into the immanent sacredness of all of Creation, Time, and Experience; connecting with "God" at every moment of my life
* Sanctity -- treating each person and experience as a sacred connection with the Divine
* Tranquillity -- finding "the peace that passes understanding" somehow, sometime, somewhere during my journey through life
* Unity/Humanity -- realizing that I am intimately connected to all Life, that ever has been, is now, and ever will be, and that this is my connection with the Divine
* Almighty -- seeking God; striving to connect with the Divine
* Mobility/Velocity -- actively moving ahead, at whatever pace is necessary, toward whatever the future will bring
* Equality/Inclusivity/Regality -- treating all persons as manifestations of the Divine, and refusing to allow anyone, including myself, to be treated as anything less than "God"
* Simplicity -- striving to focus on what are my priorities and to let go of other "busyness" that is not so important
* Sagacity -- learning to discern what is more important and what is less important to me
* Amity -- understanding the meaning of true friendship, and learning how to be a true friend
* Charity -- becoming an embodiment of Love and loving every person, every being, every moment I might encounter
* Collegiality -- forging a spirit of cooperation in my business endeavors
* Polity -- forging a spirit of cooperation in my communities
* Safety -- helping to create safe spaces and moments for all persons to express themselves in all honesty
* Felicity -- moving through the day with grace, compassion, and focus; finding my "flow"
* Sincerity -- giving each person, each moment, each event my undivided attention
* Humility -- truly understanding that I am no greater nor lesser than any other created being
* Purity -- discerning my complete inner truth and acting in accordance with it every moment of every day
* Familiarity -- realizing that we all want and need love, recognition, support, understanding, and so being open to loving, recognizing, supporting, and understanding others
* Responsibility -- embracing my commitments
* Reality -- giving up on living in fantasyland and opening my soul to the real truth of the moment
* Surity -- accepting the gift of knowing when it comes my way
* Gratuity -- thanking God for the gift of Life and all its beauty and potentiality
* Potentiality -- realizing that every moment is an opportunity to express the Truth of my existence
* Opportunity -- seeing that every moment is an occasion to live out my priorities
I guess one could say that what I've written here is my Spirituality.
Those who know me best may think that I don't live up to some of these priorities, and I'm sure I don't. Nevertheless, these are the ideas and beliefs I commit myself to, today.