Prayer For Animals
May 9, 1993
Brother John Raymond
Many people are aware of St. Francis of Assisi's great love for
animals. Many of the saints had a special relationship with them. One may
wonder why. We should recall that in the Garden of Eden humanity had a
special friendship with animals and all creation. Then humanity was subject
to God and all creation was subject to them. By breaking our relationship
with God through sin we upset the order which He had established. The
saints, by restoring their relationship with God through grace, also
restore their friendship with all creation - God's creation. Often what
we consider miraculous in the lives of the saints concerning creation,
such as animals, the weather, etc. is really the way it's supposed to be
by God's design! Small children, as a result of their soul's innocence,
have been known to play with what we consider ferocious animals without
There are many examples of wild animals' not hurting the saints.
How many times God's holy servants were licked instead of eaten by savage
lions in the days of the early Church martyrs. Even the prophet Daniel
when thrown to the lions was left unharmed. St. Madeleine Sophie Barat
(d.1865), Foundress of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was
friends with a watchdog that nobody could manage. The dog would even set
off by himself across the city of Rome, find Mother Barat, receive a pat
from her and return home contented.
This relationship with animals even extends to our own times.
Joseph Terelya, a prisoner for many years in a Communist prison, tells
about a mouse that used to run up and sit on his shoulder when he would
kneel down and begin to pray in his cell. One day, just to test the mouse,
Joseph knelt down as usual but this time he recited a poem. The mouse did
not run up onto his shoulder. So he switched to praying. The mouse
immediately ran up to him as was his custom.
Even in my own life I have experienced the wonderful relationship
between God and animals. When I was a boy I used to have pet turtles. One
day around Christmas time I let my turtle crawl around and lost him. I
looked everywhere and finally gave him up for dead. One day I noticed some
of the figures in our stable under the Christmas tree knocked over. So I
went over to pick them up. What a surprise I received when I saw my pet
turtle sleeping right next to the figure of the Baby Jesus!
There are beautiful traditions about Christmas and animals. One of
them is that while the Baby Jesus was in the cold stable of Bethlehem the animals warmed Him with their breath.
I am sure that there are many other people living today who have
witnessed God's little creatures doing extraordinary things. Living in the "concrete jungle," as some refer to the city, may be one of the causes for some of us to be out of touch with God's creatures. But let us pay more attention to the animals that are all around us everyday, such as the birds and squirrels. Let us ask for the grace from God to be friends with all His creation once again. And also:
He prays best
who loves best
great and small
for the Lord God
made them all.
Prayer For Animals
God Our Heavenly Father, You created the world to serve humanity's
needs and to lead them to You. By our own fault we have lost the beautiful
relationship which we once had with all your creation. Help us to see that
by restoring our relationship with You we will also restore it with all
Your creation. Give us the grace to see all animals as gifts from You and
to treat them with respect for they are Your creation. We pray for all
animals who are suffering as a result of our neglect. May the order You
originally established be once again restored to the whole world through
the intercession of the Glorious Virgin Mary, the prayers of St. Francis
and the merits of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ Who lives and reigns
with You now and forever. Amen.