The idea of pets is pretty wild to me on some level. I think it is amazing that two organisms, two beings that are so different, that are in some ways so alien to each other, can share a relationship like the one that many people have with their animals.
However, it is perhaps not surprising when I consider the origin stories that I tell. For it is origin stories that form our understanding of the world, and our place in it.
I tell one origin story where we and pets share a common ancestor, a common evolutionary history. In this story, though it has been millions of years since we have been separated, we have been the same longer than we have been different.
I tell another origin story about a Creator who is the source of all there is. In this story, we both bear the fingerprints of our God who created and loves us. Both these stories inform me that we are connected; we are related; we are family.
We bless our animals, our pets and stuffies today because, like St. Francis, we can call these creatures our relations – our brothers, sisters and friends. And we bless them because of their immense ability to bless us first: to offer comfort and companionship, to give responsibility and purpose to our lives, to remind us that it is not all about us, to play, and to remind us that we are not alone. These things are blessings. These things are gifts from God.
Thanks be to God!