Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blessing of the Animals

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful:
the Lord God made them all.

Across the street from my apartment is a beautiful Catholic church. I'm delighted every morning when I wake up to the sun rising above it's eaves, especially in the winter when the "rosy-fingered dawn" turns the snow a pale pink. In the evening, the setting sun bathes its rose window in glorious light. In the summer, I'm often treated to hymns when they throw their doors open to let in a breeze and the lovely music floats up to my office windows. On the weekends, I watch as wedding party's parade in and out the front doors. The church's beauty is a cherished part of my life in Park Slope, and yet I've never been to a service, nor been through its doors.

This morning, the church celebrated St. Francis of Assisi and welcomed all to bring their animals to be blessed. Annette and I were returning from the gym and decided to join the throng of people and dogs on the church steps. While the dogs sniffed each other and twined their leashes around their owners' legs, the priest read a selection of passages from the Old Testament. I'm not Catholic (or religious), but I was moved by the beauty of the readings, the celebration of our animal friends, and the gentle admonitions to love all creatures. It felt right to participate in such a joyous moment and recognize that kindness transcends religion and creed.

As I write this, Charlie is cuddled up next to me and I'm looking out my window onto the church lit up by its historic street lamps. Charlie's presence is made even sweeter by my morning diversion and the warm lights below are more dear for the welcome I felt as I joined the small gathering on the steps. Now, let's just hope I can hold onto these warm feelings when Charlie is waking me up at 5am for crunchies.

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