We had a blessing of the animals at the Cathedral today. I’ve never been to one before and, at my wonderful friends’ urging, I took my fish Giovanni. I think he enjoyed it.
We’re a bit quick to think that we know the mind of the Divine. We’re a bit quick to see the Divine in our own image: a human, with human thoughts and concerns. But I have a fish who swirls in gentle dances in his tank on my desk, whose movements and peaceful, self-contained grace calm my mind when I can’t stop it from roiling like white water dashing itself against rocks. I have Maggie, a cat who comes to visit me and demands affection and love – regardless of how tired, or stressed, or grumpy I feel – which she both takes and gives in equal measure, supremely confident of my love for her. Sometimes when I’m speaking to her I call her “angel cat”. Not only is she the manifestation of the Creator, whose sacred energies infuse every molecule of the created world – she is also a small, at times slightly irascible (she bites) messenger of God. She is a reminder of the love and life in which I dwell. She is a reminder of the beauty of creation and therefore of the Creator. Watching her doze, watching her be in peace, I am reminded of the pointlessness of my human tendency to fret, to worry, to let thoughts clatter about in my head like popping corn. There are times when Giovanni and Maggie are greater reminders to me of the nature of the Divine than any academia, any thought process, any transient human emotion.
Spirit unfolds through our non-human colleagues in this journey we call life. And if the Creator is willing to work through a cat, and a fish, and a dog, and an eagle riding the current, and a sea-lion dozing in fat contentment on a warm rock, just as It is willing to work through Its human creations – then it stands to reason that these creatures, these beings dwell just as much in the love and compassion of God as we do.
So I took Giovanni to be blessed. He probably has no idea of what happened to him this evening – but then again, who I am to say that he doesn’t? Perhaps he has a profound sense of peace in his little fish world. Perhaps he always did. Perhaps he lives in a greater sense of peace and closeness with his Creator than I do. But, I value his small place in my life, so I took him for a blessing.
I didn’t take Maggie. She would have killed me.